Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, Argentina


Photographer: Ana María Robles

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Colonia Carlos Pellegrini is the only village on the central lagoon of Esteros del Ibera, a wetlands area in north-west Argentina’s Corrientes province best-known for being home to more than three hundred and fifty bird species. Before the 1980s, widespread hunting threatened much of the wetlands’ wildlife. But since 1982, when the area was declared a provincial ecological reserve, many species once at risk of extinction, including alligators and caimans, capybaras, swamp deer, mountain goats and maned wolves, are all recovering. Perez Roque, 42, who was born and has lived his entire life in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, was once himself a hunter. But in the last two decades he has become one of the staunchest defenders of the wetlands’ protected status. With his two sons he runs a centre dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity in the area.