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.
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.
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.”
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.
Marian Labourt, Tompkins Conservation Argentina