Cicloturismo: a new way to explore Chile’s Maule Region

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Pedaling along the southern coast of Duao, Chile, our leader Luis veered off the highway onto a path leading to the beach.  “C’mon!” he exclaimed, “let’s put these mountain bikes to work!”  We followed him in, plowing deep trails into the sand.  Like Icarus and the sun, I skirted the ocean’s receding white foam, confident in my and the bike’s ability to outpace an oncoming wave.  But, even before Luis’ warning cry reached my ears, a wave crashed down on my wheels, spilling sand over the frame.  The rest of the day to the group’s amusement my gears squeaked with every pedal stroke, the penalty for my brashness. 
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Darwin's fox: the rarest in South America

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Darwin’s fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) is having a hard time finding refuge. Only a few hundred of the squat, dark-coated foxes survive today in the remaining patches of temperate rainforest that once stretched along the entire coast of southern Chile. Much of their habitat has been destroyed, or replaced with pine and eucalyptus tree farms. There is also another, more hounding, concern.
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In Aysen, threats to huemul include dogs

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Patagonia's endangered huemul has its share of predators. Pumas, foxes, and the occasional poacher are expected, but a new threat has become a hounding concern in Chile's Aysen region.

Dogs belonging to residents living near Lake Cochrane are killing young fawns, and injuring and sometimes killing adult huemul.

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The penguin season begins in Magallanes

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The Magallanes region is home to one of the largest penguin colonies in Chile: Magdalena Island, which includes an incredible 200,000 Magellanic penguins. 
 
Before, tourists visiting Punta Arenas could only visit the Seno Otway penguin colony, which is much smaller (about 8,000 penguins) and its birds are widely scattered. Magdalena Island, which is part of Los Pinguinos  Natural Monument, was only for the privileged few arriving on cruise ships. Now, some tourism companies are taking people to Magdalena two or three times per day. 
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Condors in Patagonia: Part 2, Captive Breeding

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In 1964,  I made my very first hike into the Andean mountain range of South America. The towering crags of the Paine Massif, in Patagonia, was an awesome place to start. That my "welcoming committee" happened to be a splendid entourage of eight full-grown condors was extraordinary. I do not flatter myself that they came soaring in to greet me with any sort of friendly "saludos." Being raptors, they were out cruising for carrion as usual, and spotted my body relaxing on a high ledge. For them it was the sign on a butcher shop: "FRESH MEAT TODAY!" Circling in to inspect the goods, they got a little too close; I jumped up, back to life, waving and shouting, and they gently floated off. In the ensuing years, I've had scores of sightings and encounters with condors, but never one quite so intimate.
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