Valdivia, Chile, sits at the junction of two large rivers. The region contains a very large nature sanctuary along the Rio Cruces. Some years ago a large pulp mill was sited upstream from the sanctuary and soon problems appeared. The sanctuary had been the home of thousands of black-necked swans. Our hostess (with the most-ess!) Helen, and her two lovely daughters used to kayak among the swans. Then they joined many others in fighting for the swans. But, business still trumps environmentalism here, though the loss of the swans and their habitat did much to raise environmental awareness in this beautiful part of southern Chile.
Helen’s niece, Genevieve, wrote a song about this sad situation. Here is a link to her song, “Cuidad de Papel”, or “City of Paper”.
Our guidebook and our telephoto investigations suggest that the black-neck swans are returning, now that some steps have been taken to clean up the pulp mill. At least some swans are using this estuary now. Perhaps they will again take up permanent residence…..