Out of the fauna of Karukinka, and Tierra del Fuego, there are three species whose conservation is particularly at risk: the guanacos, the black-browed albatross and the elephant seals. WCS-Chile has studied, and continues to do so, threats to each group, and has launched programs to rehabilitate and protect these species.
60% of the guanacos in Chile reside in the Magallanes Region. In Karukinka can be found the best preserved population and, nevertheless, faces threats, such as the introduction of domestic livestock, with which competes for food; the building of roads; and the lack of control on hunting. Similarly, the migratory processes of these native camelids are not well known and could be critic for their preservation in the long term. Our team has analyzed these migratory patterns, in coordination with Argentinean researchers, to generate the necessary knowledge that permits the best management practices for the conservation of this species.
Only in 2003 was discovered the only colony in the world of black-browed albatross that nests in internal waters, in an islet in Almirantazgo Sound, inside our park Karukinka. WCS-Chile studies this singular and fragile colony together with the Chilean Antarctic Institute and Austral University, censing their individuals and nests, and investigated their feeding areas using GPS devices. Scientists have found 50 active nests. The main threat to these albatross is incidental mortality caused by longline and trawl fisheries (a type of fishing gear in which the line has multiple baited hooks. When albatrosses and other birds see the hooks throw themselves over them, get hooked and drown when the line sinks).
Southern Elephant seals
Nobody knows how, but these giant sea pachyderms return again and again to Jackson Bay in Karukinka to molt and start raising a new generation. This is the only place in Tierra del Fuego where these southern elephant seals stop to rest and reproduce. It is a small colony of about 120 individuals, the only one in mainland Chile. Through satellite technology our scientists have recorded their movements and identified their feeding areas. This top predator of the Patagonian Sea has extensive habitat and food requirements, and therefore it is important to know their movement and feeding patterns. Its main threat is the overexploitation of marine resources.