Estancia La Península is located in the heart of Southern Patagonia in Puerto Natales. Location The ranch is located in the peninsula Antonio Varas and is only accessible by boat and takes approximately 30 minutes to reach from Puerto Natales, direction Monte Balmaceda where the glaciers Balmaceda and Serrano are located. This whole area could be called a transition zone between what we consider to be the two Patagonians, one is the pampa (land) and the other is the fjords and channels (sea). This transition makes this place compared to other places in Patagonia, rich in cultural, spatial, animal -and vegetation diversity. This is a differentiating aspect compared to other places in Patagonia, especially when it comes to Patagonia Argentina or even Torres del Paine. Owners and History Estancia La Península is a family project (owners: Vesna Kusanovic, Ian Mac-Lean, and Kevin Mac-Lean). The peninsula Antonio Varas has been a very special and historic sector for the Mac-Lean family, pioneers in Patagonia, who arrived at the area of Última Esperanza in the end of 1800 century. Many of the earlier generations came here to settle and managed to occupy territories for cattle breeding, but the harsh weather conditions made it difficult to settle definitively and all descendants Mac-Lean returned to Puerto Natales. Our generation (the fifth) began to work again in this territory, focusing on the work of its first settlers, the sheep farming, but this time combined with tourism. Combining these two items, we have managed to established ourselves permanently in the Antonio Varas peninsula and thus being able to reveal the history that is forged in these places and we have managed to do it in a sustainable way so the natural resources can enjoy by the future generations. Livestock Management Estancia La Península has an area of approximately 19,000 hectares whereas only 2,600 hectares are being used for cattle raising and tourism and there is a carrying capacity of about 0.5 sheep per hectare. The rest is used for conservation. The sheep feed freely on natural pastures all year round, consisting of native species and others that were introduced to the region with the arrival of Europeans several decades ago. In addition, the soil is not fertilized, nor cultivated meaning that the soil is not plowed and no herbicides, fungicides or insecticides are being used. For these simple reasons, these fields permit the natural presence of native flora and fauna that coexists harmoniously with our sheep throughout the year. The sheep breed Multi-Purpose Merino We have approximate 1,300 sheep and the breed we work with is the Multi-Purpose Merino (MPM), a breed originated in Spain, but the modern Merino was domesticated in New Zealand and Australia. This is a relatively new breed in Patagonia (approx. 15 years) and Vesna Kusanovic (co-owner of Estancia La Península) was one of the first ranchers to incorporate this breed into the Chilean Patagonia. The breed has adapted to the extreme climatic conditions that exist in these latitudes and it should be mentioned that the lambs produced almost everywhere in Patagonia are of very good quality. Not because of their weight but because they live naturally and are walking freely to find the forage from which they feed which helps to build muscle and optimum fat coverage, giving them a unique taste, which has been recognized even in places with high-quality standards such as Europe. Furthermore the Merinos is regarded as having some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep. Our sheepdogs To help with the sheep we use the Magellan sheepdog (Chilean name: Ovejero Barbucho Magallánico) which is a Chilean dog breed developed to work within the sheep activity in the region of Magallanes and Antarctica Chilean Patagonia. The breed has an inborn instinct for herding sheep and its intelligence, submissive and very faithful to its owner. Another very important feature for this dog is its resistance to extreme cold and its endurance. Its one of the few sheepdogs in the world that can keep up with carriers on horseback, walking approximate 30km daily. We have another type of dog that we use to help us manage the sheep. Three dogs of the breed Italian Maremma live together with the sheep 24 hours a day and protect them from being stolen or from predators like the puma. These sheepdogs are another innovation that has been applied to this estancia. They were applied to take care of the native fauna, especially the predators, since the normal practice in Patagonia is to hunt them. These dogs are responsible for chasing away any kind of predators such as foxes, pumas, wildcats, and even feral dogs. The effectiveness of these dogs to ward off predators has been so successful that we eliminated the need to hunt them as a method of prevention. Our Criollo horses The horses we have are the breed Criollo and is a native horse who originates from the old Andalusian horse brought by the Spanish conquerors. It is very popular among gauchos and cattle farmers because of its endurance. The breed is known for its hardiness and stamina and it might have the best endurance of any horse breed in the world next to the Arabian. The horses used for tourism are mature horses from 14 years and up and comes typically from other estancias where they have been used for working horses. They are well domesticated and have a calm temper that makes them perfect for tourism. Furthermore we use the horses for herding the cattle. Our Hereford cows The cows are part of our holistic management since it is profitable for the nature having different kind of ruminants roaming around in the same areas because they eat different vegetations. We have approximate 70 Herefords, a cattle that originally comes from Herefordshire, England and make up the largest proportion of registered cattle in Chile.