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Dubbed as the Serengeti of the Southern Cone, the 690-sq-km Parque Nacional Patagonia features Patagonian steppe, forests, mountains, lakes and lagoons. Located 18km north of Cochrane, this new national park was an overgrazed estancia. Tompkins Conservation (www.tompkinsconservation.org) began its restoration in 2004. Now it's home to flamingo, guanaco, huemul (endangered Andean deer), puma, viscacha and fox. The park stretches from the Río Baker to the Argentine border, which can be crossed in a private vehicle at Paso Roballos.
The valley is an important wildlife corridor with excellent wildlife watching. Foxes and herds of guanaco are easily spotted. Studies underway in the park look at grasslands ecology and track huemul populations. The park's roaming population consists of around 120 huemules, out of a worldwide population of 2000.