Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of the main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, with an area of 48,100 km2, and a group of many islands, including Cape Horn and Diego Ramírez Islands. The southernmost extent of the archipelago is just north of latitude 56°S.
Among the most notable animals in the archipelago are austral parakeets, sea gulls, guanacos, foxes, kingfishers, condors, king penguins, owls, and firecrown hummingbirds.
North American beavers, introduced during the 1940s, have proliferated and caused considerable damage to the island forests. The governments have established a wide-reaching program to trap and kill beavers in Tierra del Fuego.
Like the mainland of Chile and Argentina to the north, this archipelago boasts some of the finest trout fishing in the world. Sea-run brown trout often exceed 9 kg, particularly in rivers such as the Rio Grande and the San Pablo, and in the Lago Fagnano. Much of this water is privately owned, with catch and release and fly fishing only.
Waters adjacent to Tierra del Fuego are very rich in cetacean diversity. Sightings of southern right whales in Tierra del Fuego have increased in the 2000s, humpbacks, and some others such as blue whales, southern fins, southern seis, and southern minkes. Beagle Channel is a prominent area to watch rare, endemic dolphins, and the less-studied pygmy right whales.
Pinnipeds inhabiting the areas include South American sea lions, South American fur seals, the carnivorous and seal-eating leopard seals, and gigantic southern elephant seals,