Strange Tailed Tyrant horizontal line

Strange Tails

We're delighted to have a strong population of strange-tailed tyrants at the reserve. So much so that we've adopted these beautiful and endangered birds as the symbol of the Trust

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Help Wanted

We need your help to provide a safe, sustainable environment for these irreplaceable and seriously threatened animals. Your donations - however small - are very welcome indeed, and if you can volunteer useful skills then we'd love to hear from you!

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Visitors Dusicyon gymnocerus Tamandua teradactyla Ale-Cepi-Rocio Paula & Michael Garden at Don Luis Oso Melero Tamandua tetradactyla Jabiru mycteria Visitores a Don Luis (guias) Veronica y su familia panueles de solar Monte Grande Garza Blanca y Espatula Rosada     Dasypus septemcinctus Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris Blastocerus dichotomus Blastocerus dichotomus y Rhea americana   Blastocerus dichotomus Mechanitis lysimnia lysimnia      Tabebuia impetiginosa Caiman Yacare Blastocerus dichotomus

RESERVA DON LUIS

Esteros del Ibera

We purchased Reserva Don Luis in April 2010 after searching for 2 years for a suitable place for a reserve. We have had to work hard to restore this former cattle ranch to its natural state.  As well as being a nature reserve we are also a research station and have several projects in the pipeline including a reintroduction program.  We welcome visiting biologists and conservation scientists for research into our native species.  We also are looking for keen volunteers for periods of at least three weeks.

Aerial Shot of Garden and the 2 houses

                              REserva_Don_Luis

 

In 2015 we constructed a new bridge across our pond at the end of the garden.  This pond completely dried up in the drought of 2012 but due to El Nino conditions over the past 2 years it grew into a lake and we had to make the bridge over 75m in length.  The work was carried out mainly by our trustees and helpers to whom we are greatly indebted.

New Bridge at Reserva Don Luis

                                Puente nuevo

Our reserve consists of 1600 hectares of grassland/wetland and several small woods. We have many endangered Marsh deer grazing on our land and the Capybara population is expanding at a prodigous rate. The ponds to the south are full of Spectacled Caymans and in the woods we see Howler Monkeys, Gray Foxes, Armadillos, Crab-eating Racoons and Geoffroy's cats.  In 2013 we had several sightings of a Maned Wolf as well as images on our camera traps but owing to the wet conditions of the past two years they have temporarily disappeared. 

Volunteer's New House

We completed this extension to our ranger's house in August 2016.  It is used as an independent unit for our volunteers.

                                  volunteers-house

 

 

Maned Wolf caught on Camera trap

                                                            Aguara Guazu

We now have a healthy population of the Strange-tailed Tyrant (Vul in IUCN redlist) which bred successfully last year.  We plan to do a study of the nesting behaviur of this species in due course.

Male Strange-tailed Tyrant

                                       Strange-tailed tyrant

The Neotropical River Otters have been seen several times recently in our small laguna near to the houses.  Since we built the bridge we are finding this a wonderful area to see Otters and birds.  Now that we are in a state of flood they are reappearing and we have several camera traps out to capture their images.

Neotropical River Otter (juv)

                                       Lontra longicaudis

 

Our Marsh Deer had a disastrous winter in 2015 with many deaths due to an abundance of ticks.  We are trying to find out more about this dreadful illness that is killing so many of them and how to treat it.  2016 was a better year but this winter is a disaster with severe flooding and several Marsh Deer found dead.  

Rosita, our semi-tame Marsh Deer, produced another faun last October to our delight - a a male that we named Marito.   Rosita worried us all recently by disappearing for over two weeks.  Thankfully she returned on 16 June looking healthy but a bit hungry.  We have no idea where whe went but she is in theory a wild animal so we have no control over her.

This is Rosita with Pablito, her faun born in Dec 2012.

                                            Marsh Deer

 Here is evidence of our wetland status - masses of Roseate Spoonbills.  We are currently experiencing an unprecedented amount of rainfall which is causing severe flooding in the Ibera Marshes, in particular in the north.

Roseate Spoonbills                        

                                Roseate_Spoonbill

 

Don Luis has been transformed during the past two years.  Our 2 main trustees have put a tremendous amount of work improving the place and dealing with governmental bodies with regard to our reintroduction hopes.  The trees that we have planted over the past 5 years are thriving and will be in flower this coming spring - some may even produce some fruit.

The reserve is situated in the northern part of the Esteros del Ibera, about 40km to the southwest of a town called Ituzaingo.  Our area is called Cambyreta and our road allows access to the Ibera Marshes from the north.  We are only about 35km from the River Parana, which separates Argentina from Paraguay, and the climate is sub-tropical. 

Misty Sunrise at Reserva Don Luis

                                   amenecer

 

 

Spectacled Caimans

                                                    Yacare Negro

 

The only way to get around the property in an environmental manner is on horseback and we have six horses which sometimes have to work quite hard.

Mario, our ranger, with 4 of our horses

                            Mario-horses

                          

We have constructed two wooden houses for use by our ranger and ourselves, as well as a volunteer's cabin attached to Mario's house which is available for visiting biologists, researchers and volunteers. 

We welcome bird watchers  by personal arrangement but we do not permit 'playback' at the reserve.  If you are a keen birder and would like to come along please send us an email at info@collett-trust.org 

Both houses are powered by solar pv and solar thermal which generally functions successfully providing we have suficient sunshine.  We also have a windmill which pumps water to the surface as a back up to our solar water pump. The water level varies between ground level and four metres below the surface and our bore hole only had to go down to 18m to guarantee clean, clear water.

 Below is the main house                             

 

                                Cabin-Don-Luis

 

 

We have a family of seven Black Howler monkeys in the small wood behind the main house, and sometimes one wakes up to a cacophany of sound from these creatures. We appear to have a family of these shy creatures in each of our small woods so, on occasion, can hear a multi stereo chorus of sound, for example just before it rains.  These monkeys are very quiet and keep themselves to themselves but seem to tolerate our presence.  We believe that the males, when they reach a certain age, are banished from the troop and have to move on to other areas.  In Sept 2013 we had a volunteer at the reserve who did a behavioural study on 3 populations of our Howler Monkeys the report of which can be found in the scientfic report page. The juveniles are cream coloured, the females caramel and only the males are black.

Black Howler Monkeys

                                 

                            Black Howler Monkeys

Our two Greater Rheas spend a lot of time in the garden and very fond of the bread that we put out for the birds.  We have named them Nero and Natasha.  The male often displays to the female but she generally ignores him.  We suspect that they are brother and sister which may be the reason that there is no evidence of eggs or offspring.  This species is unusual in that the male makes the nest in which he encourages several females to lay eggs.  He then takes care of incubation and rearing the chicks.  Sadly Nero passed away in early January 2016 - we are unsure of the cause.

Nero and Natasha, Greater Rheas

                                          Rhea americana

We completed the building of our new incubation shed in May 2013 and are now waiting for final authorisation in order that we can start incubating Curassow eggs in the spring.  Our future plans include a proposed re-introduction project for Crax fasciolata (Bare-faced Curassow),   For example, the Bare-faced Curassow will lay 2 eggs at a time, and if these are lost for any reason (eg removed for incubation) the birds will re-lay within 30 days.  Hence we could have some insurance against juvenile loss by incubating the removed eggs where the success rate for this Cracid is quite high.  We now have a male Bare-faced Curassow in our super aviary in Monte Casa and another aviary waiting for our breeding pair in Monte Grande.

This is the incubating shed:

                                             inc-shed

Completed interior

                                             galpon de incubacion

We put our incubator room to good use three years ago when we rescued an injured Southern Tamandua who had a very nasty injury to her left ankle.  We could not release her until the wound was healed so we kept her in the incubator room at night.  During the day she curled up in a bamboo tree and basically slept all day which is normal for a nocturnal mammal.    It looks like she had been caught in a trap and fortunately she entered a house in a local village and scared the owner who called the police.

To cut a long story short she ended up at Reserva Don Luis and we attended to her injury and fed her an appropriate diet for an anteater.  We released her two months later when her wound was completely healed and although she came back to feed a few times she has now gone and we think she may be in Monte Grande, our largest wood.  

We have now created an Argentine branch of the Collett Trust which is called FUCANA, and have added Vicky as one of our committee members.  Altogether we have 6 trustees for the two trusts.

This is 'Osita' our Southern Tamandua and she is as gorgeous as she looks here.

                                            Tamandua tetradactyla

We completed the construction of our first bird aviary in 2014.  It is a super tall structure designed specially for Bare-faced Curassow.  We made it 10m x 5m with a height of 4m and a substantial amount of brick and cement under the surface to prevent foxes from getting in.  We collected our first bird, which is a male, in April 2015 and we are on the lookout for a female as well as eggs in the Argentine spring for incubation. We subsequently built a new aviary pending the arrival of our breeding pair.

Bare-faced Curassow

                                         Mute

 

We struggled to fund the incubating shed and the two bird aviaries but have managed to pay some of it with a few kind donations and some fundraising. Thank you very much if you have donated, your currency will go a long way in Argentina.  We have applied for funding for this project as it is the first re-introduction of this species in Argentina but so far although we have been on the short list we have yet to be successful.   The radio-tracking equipment for these birds cost over £1000 ( $1600US) and each aviary so far has cost over £2000 ($3200).

I hate to ask for donations, but we need more money to fund these important projects.  If you think we are a viable organisation dedicated to helping endangered species we would be really grateful for any donations - please see our home page.

Bird Aviary which houses our Bare-faced Curassow

                          Bird Aviary

Two members of Team Muitu - Liliana our Vet and Miranda our Field Manager

                                   Liliana_Miranda

We are very thankful to our volunteers, some of whom have come out here from the UK and have all made a very useful contribution to our work.  From top left they are Ed Robinson-Marray, Cassie Horton, Alex Roberts, Edith Villordo, Alex Buxton, James Crees, Sergio Ramirez, Abel Yunis, Sebastian Navajas, Arturo Roselli, Florencia and Sebastian.

 

Ed, volunteerCassie, volunteervolunteers

 

180x180alex_and_natashajames-with-horse

 

voluntariovoluntariovoluntario

 

arturo-rosellivolunteerVolunteer

 

 

 

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