Herald readers: Southern Argentina is on our minds

Our first selection of readers’ messages is devoted to politics and wildlife in Patagonia and a search for a collectors item from Antarctica

Last week, we announced that we would begin publishing messages sent by Herald readers. From concerns over the fate of guanacos and political turmoil in Patagonia to a search for the first person born in Antarctica, our opening selection is devoted to things happening in Southern Argentina. All letters have been edited for length and clarity. 

We want to hear what’s on our readers’ minds. No topic is off limits. From your thoughts on Argentine politics or its economy to a trip you took, a play you loved, or a secluded bookstore you discovered strolling through Buenos Aires. Texts should be no longer than 300 words and must include your name and where you’re from. You can write to me or contact us on Instagram via a DM. 

That’s it! Hope to hear from you soon. 

Guanacos are worth saving

My wife and I recently spent 2 brief weeks hiking in and exploring Patagonia. It is truly an exceptional area: the most beautiful and wild that we have visited. In our travels, we came across your beautiful national animal, the guanaco. Their current plight seems to resemble what happened to the pronghorn antelope in the western part of the United States. We have very few left from herds that once numbered in the thousands due to the fences installed alongside roads and fields. These animals don’t jump well, which has left huge numbers of pronghorns with broken legs, in some cases hanging on fences until they die. 

In Patagonia, we covered hundreds of miles and saw guanacos in the same situation. During a 6-hour bus ride, we easily spotted 200 dead guanacos strewn on fences or laying on the ground adjacent to roadside fences. We also saw perhaps 20 living guanacos trapped inside fence lines. 

Finally, we noted almost no young guanacos alive. There is little chance that young and shorter legged guanacos can clear fences. What happens when a population has a very low survival rate for young animals? The answer is clear: the population will crash. Those fences must be modified or removed or Argentina will lose guanacos as a viable wild animal. It is a tragedy and one that we have seen in our country with our pronghorn antelope. It would be a shame to replicate it.

Randy Roberts

United States

Political turmoil could have lasting consequences

I feel that the unification of the Provincias del Sur, more specifically, Patagonia, is a topic that is not getting the media attention it deserves. The reason behind its creation is what’s interesting. It’s a known fact that President Javier Milei doesn’t get along with the governors. These provincial leaders decided to form an alliance in order to better face the situation. What worries me is how this might impact those who live in Patagonia. I am also concerned by the effects it could have on our country’s peace. 

In addition to the well-known political crisis we are going through, it could also have political, economic, and social consequences. It could lead to the weakening or even the separation of the country. People might feel that politics has abandoned them. Patagonia is a crucial part of Argentina as a tourist destination and provider of key resources like oil, natural gas, and eolic energy, among others.

We must keep an eye on this issue. I hope that the Argentine media starts talking about it and that the president shows willingness to reach an agreement.  

Micaela Filippo

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Searching for Emilio

I am a stamp collector in Sydney, Australia. I am hoping somebody is able to help me in my quest. The first person born in Antarctica was Emilio Marcos Palma, the son of an Argentine Army officer who was stationed on the Antarctic Peninsula. I have been trying for a considerable period of time to “find” Emilio to ask him if he would autograph an envelope and send it to me in Australia so that I can include it in my Antarctic Collection. This is probably a small thing in your busy commercial world but it is a big thing in my world. I am hoping that someone will know how to contact Emilio. If you think it may be breaching confidentiality, maybe you could ask Emilio to sign an envelope and send it to me in Sydney.

Darren Jones

Sydney, Australia

Editor’s note: if you can provide information for Darren’s search, feel free to write me an email or contact us at Instagram.   

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