Tour to the Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional: a conservation unit maintained by Itaipu brings together an expressive part of the region's rich biodiversity in an incredible tour in Foz do Iguaçu

THE Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant It is known worldwide as one of the greatest engineering works in the world. When it was built in the late 1970s, it had an enormous environmental and social impact on the region. At the time, several animals were displaced, resulting in the need to create a space for the recovery of local fauna and flora.

It was then that, in 1984, the Bela Vista Biological Refuge, an area with 1920 hectares located near the Iguazu National Park that harbored these species in order to recover them. Currently the project, maintained by Itaipu Binacional, is a benchmark for environmental preservation and ecosystem conservation – and the good news is that anyone can visit it.

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Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional

Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

The concept of the place, at first, may seem similar to that of a zoo, but the Itaipu Ecological Refuge goes much further: the focus is not only on observing the animals, but on their recovery. In addition, the park is frequented by visitors at specific times so as not to stress the animals. Species are reproduced and, when possible, reintegrated into nature. More than 35 species have gone through this process.

In addition to animals, the Itaipu Ecological Refuge it also went through a process of reforestation of native trees in the region and today it has an immense area of preserved plants and flowers. The visit to the refuge is a valuable lesson in environmental education and cannot be left out of your itinerary on a trip to Foz do Iguaçu.

How is the tour to Refúgio Ecoló?geek?

The tour lasts about two hours and part of the Itaipu Visitor Reception Center in a well-equipped and spacious bus, with panoramic windows that allow a wide view of the landscape. On the way, an expert guide begins to explain about the restoration project of the areas.

The bus goes around the Piracema Channel, the largest and most complex fish transposition system in the world, created to give animals the possibility to breed even with the huge dam of Itaipu. Upon arriving at the buildings Ecological Refuge, it's time to start walking.

Foz do Iguaçu

Foz do Iguaçu. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

Foz do Iguaçu

Foz do Iguaçu. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

The trail is very quiet and has about 2 kilometers through the forest. With the signs and help of the guide who accompanies the group, it is easy to identify the extensive restored areas and the planted seedlings of the most varied species. It is still possible to observe the alignment of the trees that were planted and the difference in the species of plants brought by the wind and animals.

Foz do Iguaçu

Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

Soon you arrive at the space where wild animals that have suffered some type of human aggression are treated and, because of sequelae, cannot return to nature. This part of the tour allows visitors to contact and observe these species.

The animals are very well cared for and are kept in large spaces, extremely clean and well maintained. How the reservation is linked to the Iguacu National Park, it is not difficult to see some animals roaming freely along the trail.

Tour to the Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional

Foz do Iguaçu. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

Among the species that inhabit the refuge are ocelots, caimans, hawks, king vultures, coatis, red macaw, bororó deer, marsh deer, tapirs, capybaras, harpy eagles and jaguar. And speaking of the giant feline, children will love meeting a cub that was born in captivity and lives with its mother in one of the enclosures. In addition to being cute, the leopard was the first reproduction of the species in 14 years.

Tour to the Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional

Tour in Foz do Iguaçu. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional

Biological Refuge of Itaipu Binacional. Photo: Patricia Ferrari

A glass structure allows incredible integration with the animals. A lot of people take the opportunity to take a selfie with them. However, it takes a little luck, because on colder days the animals are usually lazy and take the opportunity to rest.

THE Ecological Refuge It operates from Tuesday to Sunday with departures at 8:30 am, 10:00 am, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Reservations must be made in advance, as this tour has limited spaces.

+ info:

Itaipu Visitor Reception Center
Av. Tancredo Neves, 6702 – Foz do Iguaçu
+55 45 3576-7000
[email protected]

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