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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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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins Awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

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New York, June 22, 2017 –Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, co-founder of Tompkins Conservation alongside her late husband Douglas Tompkins, has been awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, bestowed by the Carnegie family of institutions. The medal seeks to inspire a culture of giving by recognizing outstanding philanthropists who reflect the values of Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy of giving—what he called the “business of benevolence.” The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy was established in 2001 and is awarded every two years. The 22 Carnegie institutions in the United States and Europe nominate the medalists, and a selection committee representing seven of those institutions makes the final selection. The honorees are recognized as catalysts for good whose philanthropy has had a significant and lasting impact on a particular field, nation, or community of people.

Having amassed what was one of the greatest fortunes of his time, Carnegie, the legendary Scottish-American industrialist, decided to reinvent his fortune in society with the stated goal of doing “real and permanent good in the world.” His philosophy of giving was underpinned by the belief that with wealth comes responsibility. He believed that philanthropy’s main aim, as opposed to charity’s, was to address the causes of social ills rather than their manifestations. This belief is shared by the Tompkinses, whose work in conservation, rewilding, ecological agriculture and activism seeks to provide fundamental solutions, from carbon sequestration to healthy ecosystems to providing viable rural livelihoods.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy on behalf of our team and in recognition of my husband, Douglas Tompkins, whose vision continues to be the backbone of our work,” says Tompkins. “I congratulate my fellow honorees and am proud to stand among them.  We all stand in the shadow of great philanthropists who came before us and I hope that I may live up to the ideals of those who believe it is critical to civil society that as individuals we live the ethic that the more we receive, the more we give.”

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From the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy:

“The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honorees, past and present, personify the ideals of Carnegie’s vision, seeking through their giving to create a world of positive change. They exercise the same wisdom, foresight, and passion in their philanthropic activities as they have in their highly successful professional endeavors. They are catalysts for good who are inspirations to others. They are models for the next generation of philanthropists.

“Ms. Tompkins, your passionate commitment to ecosystem restoration is astonishing in its scope and magnitude, a true testament to Andrew Carnegie’s belief that public parks should be placed “in the very front rank of benefactions.” Your conservation efforts are visionary and resonate beyond the boarders within which they are performed. We are proud to announce Ms. Tompkins as a 2017 CMoP honoree at this Thursday’s Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Forum.”

The 2017 honorees are:

  • Mei Hing Chak China; Heung Kong Charitable Foundation
  • F. (Gerry) and Marguerite Lenfest U.S.A.; Lenfest Foundation
  • Azim Premji India; Azim Premji Foundation
  • Julian Robertson U.S.A.; Robertson Foundation
  • Jeff Skoll U.S.A.; Skoll Foundation
  • Kristine McDivitt Tompkins U.S.A.; Tompkins Conservation
  • Shelby White U.S.A., Leon Levy Foundation
  • Sir James d. Wolfensohn U.S.A. and Australia; Wolfensohn Center for Development

The Carnegie institutions will award the medals during a formal ceremony at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on October 3, 2017. The Carnegie Corporation of New York will host the private event. Katty Kay, anchor of BBC World News America, will serve as master of ceremonies.

For more information:

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Secretariat of the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Communications Department

externalaffairs@carnegie.org

212.207.6273

www.medalofphilanthropy.org

Tompkins Conservation media contact:

Alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org, 415.229.9365

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Kristine Tompkins Receives Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal from the Garden Club of America

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Baltimore (May 6, 2017) – Tompkins Conservation leader Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has received one of the highest honors bestowed by The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal. The medal, presented to Kristine at the GCA’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, recognizes outstanding achievement in environmental protection and the maintenance of the quality of life.

In honoring Kristine, the GCA hailed her as “a woman of unparalleled vision, determination, resilience and generosity” and “one of the most important wilderness protectors of our day whose work and intellect influence the global conservation field.”

On March 15, 2017, Kristine and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a pledge to dramatically expand national parklands in Chile by approximately 10 million acres. When fully executed the agreement will create five new national parks – including two crown jewels of Tompkins Conservation’s park creation work, Pumalín Park and Patagonia Park, and the one million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain – and expand three others. The proposal includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country; the total area to be protected, via this private land donation plus government land, is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.

“Kristine is an adventurer whose experiences in wild places led to a commitment to protect the wilderness that remains and to encourage future generations to experience wild nature,” said the GCA in honoring her. “Over the past 20 years, she has accomplished more than many nations in establishing a network of new parks, expanding existing ones and linking them into wildlife corridors. She has promoted sustainable agriculture and the creation of employment opportunities within and around the parks to help the local population and to gain local support for the parks. She stayed true to her vision of saving wild nature from extinction.”

Cynthia Pratt Laughlin (1910-85), a member of Southampton Garden Club in New York, endowed this medal in 1979. Noted Delaware sculptor Charles Cropper Parks designed the medal, and previous recipients include former president of The Nature Conservancy Patrick F. Noonan (1984), The Outdoor Circle, the leading organization protecting the beauty of Hawai’i (1985), writer, environmental activist and farmer Wendell E. Berry (2008), the U.S. Green Building Council (2009) and The Pollinator Partnership (2011).

Kristine was nominated for the award by Corbin Harwood, member of the Garden Club of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 200 clubs with nearly 18,000 members who devote energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States. Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. (www.gcamerica.org)

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Council of Ministers for Sustainability Ratifies the Creation of the Route of Parks, a Tompkins Conservation Initiative and Donation

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Photo: Jimmy Chin

The Council of Ministers for Sustainability is made up of the Ministries of the Environment, Agriculture, Finance, Health, Economy, Energy, Public Works, Housing, Transport and Mining

Puerto Varas, April 2017

The Council of Ministers for Sustainability has approved the proposal for the creation of the Route of Parks of Patagonia, agreed to and signed by Kristine Tompkins and President Michelle Bachelet on March 15th in Pumalin Park. This act marked the initiation of various legal, technical and formal procedures that will result in the signing of the decrees formally creating each of these new parks. Through this ratification, Tompkins Conservation leaves behind a legacy of the largest private donation made to the country of Chile, thereby conserving and consolidating a world-class system of protected areas.

The creation of Patagonia’s Route of Parks, as a result of the public-private partnership between the Government of Chile and Tompkins Conservation, involves the protection of 4.5 million hectares of new national parks. This protection involves the creation, expansion, and/or reclassification of a set of areas with high biodiversity value and outstanding eco-tourism potential in the Los Lagos, Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic regions.

The three new national parks to be created are: Pumalín, Melimoyu, and Patagonia. The existing national parks which will be expanded include Hornopirén, Corcovado, and Isla Magdalena. Additionally, the Cerro Castillo, Lago Cochrane and Lago Jeinimeni Reserves will be reclassified as national parks and the Alacalufes Forest Reserve will be reclassified as well as expanded.

Hernán Mladinic, Executive Director of Proyecto Pumalín and Pumalín Park, remarked “we firmly believe that nature tourism as a result of good conservation will become a development opportunity for these regions and that the future of communities linked to national parks will be closely tied to the development of these regions.”

Patagonia’s Route of Parks, which will include 17 national parks across 1,500 miles from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn will, along with contributing to the protection of biodiversity and pristine ecosystems, seek to boost the development of these regions through the creation of these national parks and the resulting nature tourism.

Press Contact:
Carolina Morgado

Tompkins Conservation Chile Coordinator

carolina.morgado@tompkinsconservation.org

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March 15th – Kris Tompkins addresses the crowd, including a group of local firefighters, at the protocol signing at Pumalín Park. Photo: Jimmy Chin

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Kris Tompkins and President Michelle Bachelet attend the protocol signing at Pumalín Park. Photo: Antonio Vizcaino

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Photo: Jimmy Chiin

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President of Chile, Tompkins Conservation Sign Historic Pledge to Create 10 Million Acres of New National Parks

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Photo: Linde Waidhofer

Pledge includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country

PUMALÍN PARK, CHILE (March 15, 2017) – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, leader of Tompkins Conservation, today signed a pledge to dramatically expand national parkland in Chile by approximately 10 million acres. The proposal includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country; the total area to be protected, via this private land donation plus government land, is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.

When fully executed, the agreement will create five new national parks — including two crown jewels of Tompkins Conservation’s park creation work, Pumalín Park and Patagonia Park, and the 1 million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain — and expand three others.

The signing of this historic pledge reflects a desire to continue and deepen Chile’s tradition of conservation, a sentiment which President Bachelet expressed in her speech today. “Today, alongside Kris, I am honored to see how everything has come together. … We are bequeathing to the country the greatest creation of protected areas in our history.”

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Photo: Government of Chile

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Photo: Linde Waidhofer

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Photo: Government of Chile

This proposal will help create the “Route of Parks,” a 17-park network spanning more than 1,500 miles from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn that Chilean citizens, nature lovers, global adventurers and tourists from around the world can enjoy. The Route will safeguard Patagonia’s wilderness and provide a boon to economic development in the South of Chile, with the potential to generate US$270 million in annual, ecotourism-related revenue and employ up to 43,000 people in the region.

To support the government in this ambitious endeavor, Tompkins Conservation, together with key partners, is committing to creating a Chilean-based Friends of National Parks foundation for ongoing park support.

“I wish my husband Doug, whose vision inspired today’s historic pledge, were here on this memorable day. Our team and I feel his absence deeply,” Kristine Tompkins said. “But I know that if Doug were here today, he would speak of national parks being one of the greatest expressions of democracy that a country can realize, preserving the masterpieces of a nation for all of its citizenry.”

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Photo: Government of Chile

Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., changed the course of their lives more than 20 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: biodiversity loss. After careful analysis, Kristine and Douglas concluded that creating large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course was the most effective way to combat this loss. National parks represent the “gold standard” of biodiversity conservation, offering a unique set of ecological attributes, cultural values, ​​and economic benefits to local communities, while also guaranteeing long-term conservation. Tompkins Conservation is the leader in the Americas in what is known as “rewilding,” restoring natural ecosystems and reintroducing wildlife that has disappeared from a region because of human pressures.

For live updates please visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

U.S. Media Contact: Alison Kelman – Office 415.229.9365 // Cell 339.222. 8124 // alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org

Chile Media Contact: Carolina Morgado – carolina.morgado@tompkinsconservation.org

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