Tompkins Conservation Donates an Additional 103,000+ Acres of Land to Iberá Park in Argentina

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Photo: Rafa Abuín

PRESS RELEASE

November 10, 2017 — Corrientes Province, Argentina

On November 10, 2017, the future Iberá National Park in San Nicolás, Argentina, gained over 103,000 additional acres of land as part of a new, historic donation from Tompkins Conservation. On Friday, November 10, at 11 a.m., Kristine McDivitt Tompkins made this milestone transfer of land, the second major donation from Tompkins Conservation to expand Iberá Park.  These donations to Iberá Park, along with the adjacent Iberá Provincial Park, will form the largest parklands in Argentina.

This donation is part of a broader plan signed in 2016 by Tompkins Conservation and the provincial and national governments of Argentina to form the grand Iberá Park, a protected area that will measure a total of more than 1.7 million acres– which is more than twice the size of Yosemite National Park. Of these 1.7 million acres of contiguous protected parklands, almost 1.36 million acres acres will come from Iberá Provincial Park and 370,000 acres will come from Tompkins Conservation.

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Video by Rafa Abuín: “Land Donation to Iberá Park”

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Iberá Park, Corrientes, Argentina. Photo: Juan Rámon Díaz Colodrero

While today Tompkins Conservation is celebrating their donation to and the expansion of Iberá parklands, this is not the only park in their conservation portfolio. Through Tompkins Conservation, Kristine Tompkins and her late husband, Douglas Tompkins, have spent the last quarter century investing $345 million to establish extensive protected areas in Argentina and Chile. To date, they have created six national parks, with five more currently in process. With on-the-ground teams and projects in both countries, they are currently focused on their pledge with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to create 10 million acres, which is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks combined, of new national parks in Chile.

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San Nicolás, November 10, 2017. Photo: Rafa Abuín

Fueled by a sense of urgency and responsibility, as well as a deep commitment to natural beauty and strong connection to South America, Kris is proud of the work that Tompkins Conservation has accomplished to date and has in store over the coming year. “All of us who love the Earth can see how the threats to wild places and creatures are growing. Conservationists know there is tremendous and urgent need and have incredible opportunities to expand national park systems, to work with local communities linking ecotourism-related economic development and nature protection, and to help build a culture of conservation throughout society. This is crucial work–it’s the work we’ve been doing for decades now and will be doing with all of our energy and resources long into the future.”

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Photo: Rafa Abuín

Iberá Park serves as a shining example of natural and cultural preservation, thanks to its successful rewilding and species reintroduction projects and how it has benefited local communities. Various ongoing species reintroduction projects have already succeeded in bringing back anteaters, Pampas deer, tapirs, and peccaries, and are also supporting the return of green-winged macaws and jaguars. In recent years, Iberá Park has even been the greatest contributor to the local economy, fostering development from ecotourism and benefiting nearby localities, from Pellegrini, Concepción, and San Miguel, to Loreto, Villa Olivari and many others. Ecotourists and adventure-seekers can witness this work and experience the park firsthand by staying at Tompkins Conservation’s Hostería Rincón del Socorro, located in the heart of Iberá Park.

Press Contact:

Marian Labourt, Tompkins Conservation Argentina

mjlabourt@gmail.com

Tel: 54-11-48073976

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The team celebrates the donation with an afternoon picnic. Photo: Rafa Abuín

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Photo: Marisi López

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Kristine Tompkins Accepts the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

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On October 3rd, 2017, over 300 people gathered to celebrate the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, the “father of modern philanthropy,” and the nine esteemed Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients. After processes into The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building behind tradition Scottish bagpipes, Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation New York, introduced the medalists to the crowd.

“Indeed, the munificence of the Carnegie Medal recipients is not only remarkable, but awe-inspiring,” said Gregorian. “You are living examples of Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic legacy and of those who have followed in his footsteps. You have all dedicated not only your personal wealth, but your reputations, your time, and your talents to causes of deep significance to you and to your communities: namely education, international peace, the environment, the arts, the protection of our democracy, and much, much more.”

Before the medals were presented, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble took the stage to perform a selection of instrumental songs and dances. Master of ceremonies, Katty Kay from BBC World News America, came to the stage to introduce each medalist.

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Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

“Today,” said Kay, “philanthropy is being called upon to play an even greater national and international role — in fighting poverty and other global ills, in funding research and development on issues like climate change and nuclear nonproliferation, and in sustaining democracy at home and around the world. Helping the people and the causes that need it most must always be the priority. Our former, current, and future medalists are all keenly aware of this.”

After Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest and Sir James Wolfensohn accepted their medals, Tompkins Conservation leader Kristine Tompkins took the stage, focusing her statements on the satisfaction she finds through her conservation philanthropy. “Getting up every day and focusing on the things we love has brought new dimensions into our personal lives that we never thought imaginable.”

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Kristine Tompkins surrounded by friends and supporters at the medal ceremony. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kris was then followed by Azim Premji, Shelby White, Mei Hing Chak, Julian Robertson, and Jeff Skoll, who have all committed their philanthropic efforts to making the world a better place. Surprise guest Big Bird joined Sherrie Westin (Executive VP, Sesame Workshop) and Dr. Gregorian on stage to tell the crowd about his Yellow Feather Fund, which brings educational materials to children in need all around the world.

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Big Bird with Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Sherrie Westin, Executive VP, Sesame Workshop. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kay concluded the ceremony with a quote from Andrew Carnegie himself: “Wealth is not to feed our egos, but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves.”

From everyone at Tompkins Conservation, congratulations to all of the medalists!

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Tompkins Conservation Extends its National Park Creation Efforts to the Ocean, with Two New Marine National Parks Proposed in Argentina

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An image from Tompkins Conservation’s communications campaign highlighting one of the Argentine Sea’s residents, the sevengill shark. Photo: Alejo Irigoyen

The government of Argentina announced last week that it will create two new marine national parks in the Southern Atlantic. Tompkins Conservation is proud to play a part in this effort, lending its expertise in conservation activism to catalyze their creation. This is an important first step for Argentina to protect its oceans, and a first step for Tompkins Conservation in ocean conservation.

“With this initiative, we extend our national park creation work from terrestrial conservation to oceanic. Establishing an ambitious system of marine national parks (in other words, no-take marine protected areas) is a way for Argentina to show global leadership in how a society can support the legitimate aspirations of its people while also being a good neighbor to our nonhuman neighbors who live in the sea,” says Kris Tompkins, leader of Tompkins Conservation.

Read further for the full story.


Argentinean Government Announces Creation of Two Large Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Atlantic 

Government seeks to reach 10% coverage of Marine Protected Areas by 2020

Buenos Aires, September 26, 2017 – Vice chief of Cabinet of Ministers, Mario Quintana, announced today the Federal Government will send a bill to the National Congress for the creation of two large marine protected areas close to the Southern tip of Argentina in the Southern Atlantic. The decision of the Government is a conclusion of many months of official meetings, technical debates and difficult negotiations among authorities from several ministries. During the meeting in the Pink House (e.g. Argentinean house of government), Governmental officers showed publicly their gratefulness with the civil society organizations that advocated for marine protected areas. Tompkins Conservation was mentioned several times, as it supported strongly decision-making by the Federal Government on this issue and also undertook a communications campaign in order to raise public support for ocean conservation.

Argentina’s jurisdictional waters cover 36% of the area of the country. However, less than three percent is included in marine protected areas. The existing marine reserves are all coastal but just one (Namuncurá – Burdwood Marine Protected Area, established in 2013) protects deep waters. As a signatory country of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the nation should reach at least a 10% protection rate of its waters by 2020.

The Government of President Mr. Mauricio Macri took the first step towards the establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas in federal waters by appointing the National Parks Administration as the authority of the National System of Marine Protected Areas on June 8, 2017 (World Oceans Day). Tompkins Conservation together with other NGOs had been advocating for that first decision.

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Kris Tompkins meets with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, August 2017. Photo: Government of Argentina

After many years of research and assessment, scientists and NGOs in the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea identified the relevant areas for the conservation of biodiversity in the Argentine Sea. Tompkins Conservation, as leader of the campaign “Sin Azul No Hay Verde” (following the famous slogan by Sylvia Earle; “No Blue – No Green”) celebrates the announcement by the Government. The campaign will focus now on increasing awareness by the congress representatives towards the urgent need to enact the National Law that will create these two new Marine Protected Areas.

The bill establishes that there will be two new marine protected areas: the “Yaganes” Marine National Park, Strict National Marine Reserve and National Marine Reserve (69,000 km2) and the “Namuncurá – Burdwood Bank II” Strict National Marine Reserve and National Marine Reserve (29,000 km2). Both marine parks will be placed on the Southern Patagonian sea.

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This new marine park has rare, fragile and slow recovery species, such as cold water corals. It is a site of aggregation of the Malvinas sprat, of great ecological importance in the whole region. It has relevance as a foraging area for species of seabirds threatened at the global and national scales. There are many species of marine mammals (including threatened species) that feed or move through the area.

Marine Protected Areas have become a global trend, used as one of the most effective tools to mitigate climate change by protecting the habitats and species responsible for carbon sequestration and storage at sea. They also create a shelter for ocean ecosystems and ensure a sustainable fishery economy and the conservation of species of great interest for coastal tourism.

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Staff Spotlight: Alicia Delgado, Wildlife Biologist at Iberá National Park

P1190830 Name: Alicia Delgado

 Role: Wildlife Biologist, CLT Argentina

 Year joined CLT: 2007

 Hometown: Mercedes, Argentina

 Main Area of Study: Anteater Reintroduction and Rehabilitation


Alicia Delgado (or Ali, as she is often called) was born in 1979 in Mercedes, near Iberá, and grew up on her family ranch. Since childhood she was influenced by her father who encouraged her curiosity about nature. These experiences sparked her interest in the natural world and prompted her to study Conservation Biology in Córdoba, where Alicia was attracted to applied work rather than to pure research. After finishing university studies she returned to Corrientes and soon had the opportunity to start working on an ambitious project that was just beginning—reintroducing the extirpated wildlife in Iberá. She knew she had found her place.

Once a part of the Conservation Land Trust team, Alicia began working for the pampas deer project in the Aguapey in 2007. Since then, she has conducted annual surveys that provide insight into the state of this rare deer in Corrientes, which inhabits private cattle estancias and forestry lands. During this task, Alicia and her assistants visit local ranches and talk with their owners and workers, to obtain and provide information about pampas deer ecology and conservation. Doing this work, which often involves days of traveling on dirt roads under the rain or heavy heat, is important for learning the status of the population, which serves as a source of animals to fund new populations inside Iberá Park.

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In addition to this role, since 2009 Alicia has been responsible for the anteater rescue center and quarantine in the Biological Station located at Corrientes. There she is responsible for hand-rearing the orphan anteaters arriving each year. Alicia’s maternal instinct and her experience as a mother of two girls, together with her great interest in conservation and animal welfare, have been key for a center that has managed more than 90 anteaters over ten years. Alicia also decides the right time for the anteaters to be taken to their final destination in the Socorro or San Alonso reserves, where they are left under supervision of the management and monitoring team in the field. Something that comforts and excites her is to know that most of the rescued animals, in many cases saved from a sure death, have the opportunity to be rehabilitated and live freely in their natural environment.

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The expertise that Alicia has acquired over the years makes her one of the most experienced conservation professionals in anteater management in South America. Along with these tasks, Alicia and her team are responsible for the care of other species that go through the quarantine facilities, including peccaries, tapirs, jaguars, and maned wolves. Upon returning home each evening, with an occasional scratch on her arms, Alice always has interesting stories to tell her daughters Isa and Ana, who share their mother’s affection for the animals from the Center.

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The First Wild Tapir is Born in Iberá

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Nena, a newly released tapir, and her new baby (June 2017). Rincon del Socorro, Iberá Park: Photo: Gerardo Cerón

Nena, a female tapir reintroduced to the region, has given birth to her first calf

After over half a century of absence from the region, tapirs are now beginning to reproduce in the wilds of Iberá. The tapir is the largest land mammal in South America and is classified as ‘endangered’ in Argentina. This peculiar animal has seen its population reduced to less than half of its original numbers over the past 100 years due to habitat destruction and hunting.

In order to reverse this trend, in 2016 the Conservation Land Trust (CLT) began a project focused on bringing this great mammal back to Iberá. CLT began this project by releasing tapirs from the Government of Salta’s Indigenous Wildlife Station and the University of Tucumán’s Horco Molle Experimental Reserve. As a result of these reintroduction efforts, the CLT rewilding team has confirmed the birth of the first wild calf to the newly restored tapir population.

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Photo: Gerardo Cerón

The newborn has been determined to be male and the son of Nena, a female that joined the tapir population founder group in Iberá from the Indigenous Wildlife Station of Salta this past March. With the arrival of this calf, there are now seven tapirs (2 males and 4 adult females, plus the small male) living in Rincón del Socorro, a natural reserve owned by CLT that will be donated to the Argentinian state in order to form part of Iberá National Park.

The birth of this calf signifies another step forward in the ambitious task of bringing back the many fauna that have disappeared from the Iberá region. This rewilding (or restoration of extinct species) program, the largest on the American continent, began in 2007 with the release of the program’s first giant anteaters. Created by Douglas and Kristine Tompkins through their nonprofit organization, the program has benefited from the active participation and support of the governments of Corrientes and Argentina, provincial authorities, dozens of public and private organizations, and many Argentinian and foreign individuals. Iberá’s rewilding program is further strengthened by the donation of CLT’s lands to create Iberá Park (which, at 700,000 hectares, will be the largest in Argentina) and the work of multiple institutions to promote Iberá as an ecotourism destination that serves as a source of employment and pride for the region’s inhabitants.

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Photo: Gerardo Cerón

In the words of Sebastián de Martino, coordinator of the CLT Fauna Restoration Program at Iberá, “The birth of this calf augments the births of other previously-extinct species in Iberá, such as the pampas deer, giant anteater and peccary. We want to thank our Tucuman and Salta colleagues, who donated the tapirs, for helping Corrientes bring back this key piece of its original fauna. We hope that this good news will soon be complemented by the birth of the region’s first jaguar cubs. This is an example of what can be achieved in our country when public and private entities collaborate on working towards a common goal.”

The Restoration of Iberá

The Iberá Natural Reserve, covering 1.3 million hectares of public and private lands, was created by the Corrientes government in 1983. Douglas and Kristine Tompkins were invited by the Argentinian national park management to visit Iberá in 1997. Enchanted by this impressive wilderness area, the Tompkinses began working in the region through their organization, CLT; eventually buying 150,000 hectares of private lands, with the aim of one day donating them to the Argentinian state.

Under the care of the foundation’s veterinarians and biologists, working in collaboration with the provincial reserve staff, the region’s wildlife recovered quickly and Iberá became a world-renowned tourist destination. Concurrently, the CLT-led wildlife restoration program has managed to establish two new populations of pampas deer and anteaters in the region, along with early nuclei of tapir, collared peccary and green-winged macaws. Additionally, the program became the first in the world to undergo the creation of a jaguar breeding project, aimed at reintroducing these large cats into areas where the species had been previously extirpated. All of these efforts were supported by the agreement reached, between CLT, the government of Corrientes and the current government of Argentina, to create the 700,000 hectare Iberá Park through the combination of Correntine fiscal lands and lands donated by CLT.

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