They find a strange animal that could mean the return of another species to the Neuquén mountain range

They find a strange animal that could mean the return of another species to the Neuquén mountain range
They find a strange animal that could mean the return of another species to the Neuquén mountain range

Regarding the discovery, it is a “giant planarian”a species of invertebrate, a very rare flattened worm, which the residents call “cow tongue” (Polycladus gayi), which is characterized by having a large flat body and striking coloration.

It is a tongue that appears to have a black back with yellow-orange lateral edges.an organism that grows in forested places with very little light.

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The huemul is the Patagonian deer that has been almost extinct since the ’90s. The appearance of the giant planarian is a sign that the forest of Lanin National Park is recovering. Will the huemul return to its natural habitat?

The species was found around Lake Queñi in San Martín de los Andes, by brigade members during a rescue, when they warned about the strange “animal” in the forest.

Animal in extinction: the huemul

They immediately notified the Lanín National Park specialists who are within the Huemuil project, created to recover the habitat of the giant deer that disappeared in the ’90s in the Neuquén mountain range.

They say that it has been seen on the Chilean side, but no longer in Argentina. The work on this project is coordinated with the Huilo Huilo Foundation of Chile, which also strives to create the conditions for the return of that deer.

María Rosa Contreras is an agricultural engineer and part of the Huemul project, along with 30 other people in the Lanín National Park. It is also part of the park’s Conservation and Management department.

In the gloomy forest

Contreras explained to LMNeuquén that “we are working on the recovery of the habitat of the Queñi Lake basin for the recovery of the huemul. “It is for this reason that in that area we are carrying out tasks to control wild cattle and monitor the recovery of native vegetation and fauna.”

The specialist indicated that the discovery of the “giant planarian” belongs to the Phylum flatwormsa native species that lives in very humid and shady places.

“In this case it is an important finding because it is an indicator of good state of conservation of the forest,” said Contreras.

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The giant planarian, a species of invertebrate, a very rare flattened worm, which the residents call “cow tongue.”

This species is typical of “Valdivian forests” (found from Lanín Park to southern Chile) and is considered bioindicators of well-conserved sites. They are more sensitive to ambient humidity than most soil organisms.

The discovery of “invertebrate animal” reflects that little by little the mountain forests begin to recover their original environmental conditionand one of the objectives is to restore the environment for the appearance of huemul.

In this case it is an important finding because it is an indicator of good state of conservation of the forest – María Rosa Contreras from Huemul project In this case it is an important finding because it is an indicator of good state of conservation of the forest – María Rosa Contreras from Huemul project

The huemul is the species of Patagonian deer, endemic to the temperate Patagonian forests and sub-Andean grasslands of Argentina and Chile.

As Contreras explained, its original population has been reduced almost entirely and its distribution by 50 percent, “taking the species to a delicate state of conservation.”

The threat of the Patagonian deer

“The threats to this species are mainly related to anthropogenic factors such as the replacement and degradation of the native forest by extensive livestock farming, competition with exotic species (red deer and cattle), poaching, nutritional deficiency and persecution and predation by dogs”he indicated.

But the discovery of the giant planarian brought hope to the specialists at the Lanín National Park, who believe that they are close to recovering the flora and fauna of decades ago. And in this sense, create the conditions for the return of the huemul to develop.

 
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