In the far north of Argentina, at the border with Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, the Missiones region covers more than 29,000 km². This area, which has suffered heavy forest loss due to the establishment of agriculture, is now protected within 11 different forms such as national parks and nature reserves. Fortunately, the tropical forest that yet covers the rest of Missiones is rich in its biological diversity and the many endemic species that inhabit it. Hence, this fauna is nowadays still in danger due to unmeasured and illegal deforestation. This has resulted in the loss of their habitat… Guïra Oga, a self financed animal shelter, was set up to protect, educate, rescue and reintroduce threatened animals.
What is Guïra Oga and how does it work?
Not far from the town of Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, the Guïra Oga refuge aims to protect the local fauna by rescuing animals injured during road accidents or by poachers. They also take care of those seized from illegal traffickers, or from the closures of zoos and circuses. Ultimately, their goal is to reintroduce these animals back into the wild. Yet, for the animals that are too weak, handicapped, or too domesticated, Guïra Oga has set up a breeding plan.
Rehabilitation of falcons and eagles
At the Guïra Oga refuge, veterinary teams have developed a technique to rehabilitate eagles and hawks. The birds are held by ties to a special bench and are trained by performing outdoor flying exercises. The training flights are carried out in a special zone, closely monitored by the trainers.
According to the shelter, these daily flights allow the falcons and eagles to build their muscles. They are therefore allowed to catch simulated or real prey. Most of all, this help them maintain their character, temperament and aggressiveness. These activities are necessary for birds which have been kept for a long time in captivity. Thanks to this method, reintroduction into the wild or their preparation for captive breeding is easier.
Our thoughts on the park
Open to the public all year round, the shelter develops educational programs to create awareness andr to preserve the regions tropical forest and its biological diversity.
We spent an afternoon at Guïra Oga in between visits to the both sides of the Iguazu Falls parks. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the work that was undertaken. The tour given by the staff has educational and the guide showed a true enthusiasm and emotion for the program.
Unfortunately, our only negative thought was that we felt that the cages were a little small. For permanent residents which cannot be reintroduced into their natural environment, we found this a little unfortunate. We wished the park would offer the animals more space, especially since the park is established on 19 ha. The animals deserve to have more space.
Though, from what we have understood, the park survives only through park entrances and private donations. As it seems, local and national governments are not involved and do not fund any of the programs.
Cost and useful information:
Exchange rate as of February : €1 = 16.31 ARS
Bus Return Puerto Iguazu -> Guïra Oga = 26 ARS (€1.59)
Entrance fees Guïra Oga = 150 ARS (€9.20)
Hostel Puerto Iguazu = 230 ARS (€14.10) pp/pn
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