With the exception of birds, there is little information about the different groups of vertebrates in the park. Most of the publications consulted refer to the fauna of the region not including accurate data on the presence of species in the park. The information in this section comes from reports of Rangers and the journeys made by the Patagonia Regional Delegation in connection with the preparation of the Management Plan, coupled with limited data taken from specific literature.
The recorded information on birds in the park is mostly recent, after 1980 - and quite complete.
So far, about 100 species have been recorded in the park. It would, however, be necessary to complete the existing information on height environments, barely surveyed
In this diversity, some species are considered of special conservation value, such as the choique or rhea (pterocnemia pennata), the condor (Andean Condor), the torrent duck (Torrent Duck), the white carancho (Polyborus albogularis) and the southern yal (Melanodera melanodera).
Also of great importance because of their density, are the populations of condor and the crest eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) mainly in the north of the park.
Species of very low presence in southern areas have been recorded in some wetlands in the National Park, this is the case of the yellow winged thrush (Agelaius thilius), the silver peak widow (Hymenops percpicillata) and the seven colors of the lagoon (Tachuris rubrigastra. These species have been observed in the Tunel Bay area of the Viedma Lake north of the National Park and in the Puerto Bandera ponds in the park boundary.
Also noteworthy is the presence and nesting on the shores of lakes and lagoons in the National Park of the southern overo oystercatcher (Haematopus leucipodus).
Some species of southern distribution and few records in the country such as the great snipe (gallinago stricklandii) and fundamentally, the redfish girl (rallus antarcticus) require a special search due to their low population density. The established presence in the national park environment would be of great importance for the conservation of both species.
There is no general survey of mammals in the area, thus, the state of knowledge is limited to a list derived from reports of park rangers and older studies covering especially the medium sized and bigger mammals, and some circumstantial data on some species.
During journeys made in November 1990, traps for small mammals were set in:
a) Grassland with berberis and neneo, in the vicinity of the Viedma Sectional (Fitz Roy).
b) A sparse ñire forest adjacent to the de las Vueltas River.
c) A lenga forest, on the east hillside, overlooking the de las Vueltas River.
In all three sites, only xanthorhinus akodon was captured. Also, in fox excrement, oryzomys longicaudatus jaws were found. Thus, this is the first data of these species for the park. Residents of the area have mentioned that the red fox appeared in the area after the arrival of the European hare (c. 1926), which would have caused a relative decline of the gray fox; they also speak of the consequent decline of the grassland cat and the wild cat.
The Chilean area of Torres del Paine, adjacent to the National Park, and environmentally similar, is in contrast, one of the best-studied areas of the Chilean Patagonia. A significant number of modern studies have been done there, especially on the guanacos and the community of carnivores (University of Iowa group and Chilean colleagues), focusing on ecological and behavioral aspects. These studies are useful in that they can provide guidance on densities, ecological features and potential management guidelines in The Glaciers National Park.
Amphibians and Reptiles
There are two big herpetological (branch of zoology referring to reptiles) regions in Patagonia: North and South or Santa Cruz, which begins in the watershed between the basins of the Chubut and Deseado rivers(451 º south latitude).
The Santa Cruz Region is greatly impoverished: Of the 60 Patagonian species described to date, there are 56 in the North and 13 in the South, of which 9 are common to both. This means that there are only 4 species native to this region.
In addition, the lizards make up a much higher ratio of the herpetofauna in the north.
During several trips, the presence of pleuroderna bufonina was registered in Tunel Bay and a tributary of the de las Vueltas River. Cei (1982) cited in Chilean territory at the latitude of the park, the presence of bufo variegatus, batrachyla leptopus and alsodes coppingeri. They also found b. variegatus in the area of Desert Lake.
Note: You will need to make an additional effort to determine the presence of these species in the National Park.
There are no works that refer to the species of reptiles in The Glaciers National Park. The report of the Park Ranger Landívar (1981-1982) records the presence of lizards in grasslands distant from the coast in the area of Punta Avellaneda. In Long Island Park Ranger Landívar (1981) observed a lizard which was about 15 to 20 cm., possibly diplolaemus bibroni, or another species not mentioned for the region. The literature on reptiles agrees to include the National Park area in the distribution of liolaemus magellanicus-lineomaculatus group.
Cei (1980) quotes liolaemus archeoforus sarmientoi for the northern boundary of the park and bibrioni diplolaemus as outsiders.
The species recorded so far are:
- Puyen Galaxias maculatus
in Argentino Lake(Oliver & Cordioviola, 1974).
- Perch Percichthys
, presumably vinciguerrae in Argentino Lake(Oliver & Cordiviola, 1974) and Viedma Lake(reported by Park Ranger Cerdá).
Introduced or Exotic Species
Two species of introduced salmonids have been cited:
- The rainbow trout
- The lake trout
Both in the Argentino and Viedma lakes.
The European hare (lepus europaeus)is of abundant and widespread distribution. Also common are originally domestic species: horses and cows, the latter quite abundant in some areas, which have become wild.
A special chapter should be devoted to horses. The estimated population is about 15 thousand animals in the area of the huemul populated Mascarello Valley; this problem and management alternatives should be evaluated.
An example of this problem poses the following dilemma:
A control action to eliminate horses could suddenly cause an increase of puma predation on huemuls.
The park is a site with remnant and apparently isolated populations of huemul (southern Andean deer).
In January 1992 as part of a grant from the National Parks Administration, the agronomist Alejandro Serret in collaboration with Vida Silvestre Argentina Foundation conducted a survey of the situation of the huemul in the northern sector of the park. The result confirmed the existence of a significant population in the Mascarello River Valley and the western area of the Viedma Lake between the Viedma Lagoon and Seno Moyano (Viedma Channel).
In 1996 and 1997 the FVSA and The Glaciers National Park Administration continued to conduct surveys in the area and could confirm the importance of this population through the sighting of 10 and 11 animals separately. After three seasons of study, the presence of a minimum of 16 animals was estimated in the area and a density of 0.8 huemuls / km² (Serret and Borghiani, 1997)was determined.
In addition, there are records of different observers in Torre Lagoon, Torre River, Toro Lagoon, de las Vueltas River, Electrico River, Blanco River, Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, Condor River, Colorado Hill, Huemules Hill, Tannhäuser Lake, Guanaco River, Capri Lagoon, La Rosada Stream and Ameghino Bay. The latter is the southernmost location of huemuls in Argentina.
There could also be orange chinchillas (lagidium wolffsohni), very rare and of restricted distribution.
It is worth noting the importance of the Fitz Roy and de las Vueltas Rivers for the torrent duck, where there are a considerable number of individuals or family groups permanently.