When wildlife is in danger and luckily someone is around to do something about it, the incident becomes an anecdote that certainly deserves to be told.
Last month, one of our groups from Germany traveling through the National Road 40 saw a guanaco trapped on a wire fence. We invited Claudio Allende, Kallpa’s Tour Leader assigned to this group (and one of the heroes of the day!) to write about the episode and share it with all of you:
Guanaco Ricky’s second birthday by Claudio M. Allende
Lands in Patagonia are surrounded by thousands of kilometers of wire fence. This is how man decided to civilize and settle on these beautiful grounds, still wild and adventurous.
Crossing through the Route 40 towards El Chaltén, one of the largest and fairest roads by the side of the Andes, we saw a guanaco trapped on a wire fence. Many guanaco carcasses hung from the wire showed us his probable fate. But today, his destiny was about to change.
While Sergio -the driver- drove through a constant fight against the wind, 14 German travelers enjoyed the Patagonian natural beauties: mountains and hills, guanacos, rheas, foxes, sheeps and gauchos, all holding hands under the Patagonian skies.
That is how we found the poor guanaco with his legs tangled on a fence. When I asked if we should stop and try to help him, Sergio slammed on the breaks, we looked at each other and it was clear that we would do everything possible to liberate the animal.
“Please don’t anyone get off, stay on the bus so we don’t scare him more than he already is” were my words to our travelers and we walked towards the poor guanaco, that nervously watched us getting closer and closer. An adult specimen-such like this one- might weigh up to 90 kilos. The mix of fright when he saw us, believing us to be a menace and the desperation for not being able to escape gave the animal an incredible strength. Every movement of his head and every kick could hurt Sergio or me, and also endanger the travelers.
But at the moment you don’t think about any of that: we saw a few wounds that he had on his groin and how the wire was hurting his long legs. Without any doubt, we begun to separate the wires and try to release one of the legs. Once he had one free, the scared animal started kicking. I hung from his neck trying to cover his eyes, to disorient him so he could soothe a bit while Sergio fought with the last leg. We had just two wires left. With all our strength combined, finally we set him free. “Our” guanaco ran away immediately. The wounds weren’t that deep and surely he would survive. As a token of his appreciation, we got a few kicks and bruises…but also the satisfaction of giving this animal a new life.
The travelers rejoiced: we heard the cries of joy in the bus and when we returned, a big and loud applause. We celebrated toasting with water and baptized “our” guanaco on his second birthday. Somewhere in Patagonia, now we have a guanaco son named Ricky and I hope to see him again sometime.
Ricky finally free!
The pictures are courtesy of one of the travelers.