Insight Guides: Chile by Insight Guides

Insight Guides: Chile by Insight Guides

Author:Insight Guides
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: travel, Chile, South America
Publisher: APA
Published: 2013-01-21T05:00:00+00:00

Three-Island National Park

Except for the town of San Juan Bautista and its surrounding area, all the Juan Fernández archipelago is a vast national park that is carefully controlled by CONAF, Chile’s national park service, to protect the endemic flora and fauna that put the islands on Unesco’s Biosphere Reserve list. There are three official trails that visitors can take on their own but they must register at the Park administration office and, in some parts of the islands, only guided hikes are permitted. An alternative way to see the park is by boat, also visiting colonies of the native fur seal that was once close to extinction.

Plant life is unusually varied in the archipelago, with 101 endemic varieties, including a range of enormous ferns, many of which look like they belong in a Dr Seuss book, and biologists regularly turn up new finds. Of the endemic animals, the red Juan Fernández hummingbird is most famous for its needle-fine black beak and silken plumage.

CONAF spends most of its time trying to eradicate threats introduced by man: everything from mulberry bushes to the wild goats and feral cats descended from Selkirk’s days. Rabbits were a problem, but they have been controlled by the simple solution of paying a trapper to catch and sell 150 a day (the islanders thought this a more humane solution than using the fatal viral disease myxomatosis).


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