Category Archives: Park Creation

Staff Spotlight: Ignacio Jiménez Pérez, CLT Conservation Director

_CJR6869Name: Ignacio Jiménez Pérez

Role: Conservation Director, CLT Argentina

Year joined CLT: 2005

Hometown: Valencia, Spain

Main area of study: “Institutional Ecology,” which studies how organizational arrangements can make conservation more effective

Ignacio came to CLT Argentina over ten years ago with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of wildlife conservation. Beginning his career with a degree in Animal Biology from the Universidad de Valencia in Spain, and a Masters in Wildlife Management and Conservation from the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, Ignacio has gained decades of field research and management experience from around the world. From the study and management of manatees in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to the assessment of endangered species protection in Spain, Ignacio’s work to research, manage and restore wildlife has put him at the top of his field. Also a professor, Ignacio has taught well over 20 courses in Spain, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, and Chile about interdisciplinary issues related to conservation. His research and conservation efforts have been featured in various scientific journals, books, and other publications.

Beginning in 2005, Ignacio’s work with CLT initially focused on endangered species recovery in the Iberá wetlands, which is home to species such as the giant anteater, pampas deer, and jaguar. Now taking on a more communications-based role, Ignacio is still the leading authority on rewilding in the Iberá region. We had the chance to ask Ignacio a few key questions about his path to CLT and what inspires him in his work today. Below is our conversation:

Q: How did you first get involved with The Conservation Land Trust?

A: I was travelling with my Argentinean girlfriend (now my wife and mother of two beautiful, wild daughters) through Pumalín in January 2005. I had just moved to Argentina from Costa Rica and was looking for some exciting conservation work to do. While I was at the cozy café at Caleta Gonzalo I was wondering, what is this organization that is trying to manage a private reserve as a top-notch national park? Then I saw the book about the 10 first years of CLT. Going through the pages I discovered that they had a project in a place called Iberá in Argentina, which sounded slightly familiar to me. Then I saw that they were planning on reintroducing six species of mammals. I knew that nobody had tried something like that in South America before, and I thought, “these guys are crazy!” And then, “if someone can do this, maybe it’s them.” A few months later I got in contact with Sofía Heinonen, who was just starting a conservation team and looking for someone with experience in endangered species recovery. The rest, as they say, is history!

Q: Can you please explain a bit about your role at CLT Argentina?

A: From 2005 to 2015 I was in charge of coordinating our rewilding program aimed at reintroducing locally extirpated species. By 2015 it was obvious that my role was getting too broad, because I had to manage a growing team of professionals who were actually in charge if the animals, getting all the permits from authorities, which is one of the toughest jobs in conservation, and also managing communication, fundraising, and training. It was just too much. With Sofía, our Director in Argentina, we decided to split the job and look for a person who would be mostly focused on the actual rewilding, while I would focus more on strategic communication and institutional issues for all of CLT Argentina.

Q: What does rewilding mean to you?

A: It means working hard to get things better in the natural world, not only avoiding that they get worse. It’s something proactive and inspiring, instead of just being reactive and “on the defensive.” Through rewilding we can really improve the state of the natural ecosystems that we are entrusted to care for, and also inspire people to support conservation!

Q: Can you explain a bit about Iberá’s jaguar reintroduction program? What are the program’s goals for 2017?

A: The jaguar program in Iberá is the apex of the Iberá Rewilding Program, both because it is the most difficult species to work with (you don’t want to work with an animal that it’s either hated/feared or loved, with no space in between!) and because it implies bringing back one the most important pieces of the whole ecosystem (i.e. it’s a top predator; like the “dome” of this “natural cathedral” that is the Iberá landscape). In the end we were surprised by the high level of support of the local population, because they see jaguars as a “vanished distant relative” since many local gauchos compare themselves with jaguars, as part of their cultural and natural heritage.

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Naguel and Tobuna, Iberá Park’s first two jaguars to the Jaguar Breeding Center. Photo: CLT Argentina

Q: You were recently working in South Africa. Can you explain a bit about what you were doing there?

A: I went to South Africa both for a family experience and for a professional goal. At the family level it was a great opportunity for my daughters (8 and 9 years old) to live in another culture, improve their English and enjoy amazing wildlife and landscapes. For the family as a whole, it was extremely satisfying. At the professional level, through my job in rewilding in Iberá (and my personal interest in organizational issues) I came to discover that Southern Africa, as a region, was decades ahead of the rest of the world regarding the restoration of extirpated populations of large animals. Knowing this, I couldn’t help but travel there to learn and bring that practical knowledge to South America!

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Ignacio with Carito (one of CLT wildlife veterinarians) during a visit to a rhino conservation project in South Africa. Photo: Ignacio Jiménez Pérez

Q: What does Iberá becoming a National Park mean for the park’s rewilding initiatives?

A: The Iberá Program was the result of Dougs and Kris’ vision from the beginning, and this was very clear: making a vast national park that could stand the test of time and bring back the missing ecological pieces (i.e. extirpated fauna). Without the park and its long-term legal protection, there would be no rewilding, because there would be no protected habitat for the reintroduced giant anteaters, pampas deer, tapirs, jaguars, etc.

The project that inspires me the most nowadays, is a book that we are finishing that combines more than two decades of personal experience managing, visiting, studying and learning from conservation programs in four continents. In CLT Argentina we privately call this book “The Manual,” since it combines most of the experience gained in 25 years of Tompkins Conservation with what we have learned working in and visiting other conservation programs. We believe that we have been able to develop a ground-proofed method to create and manage protected areas and rewild large areas of the planet.

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Watching mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Photo: Ignacio Jiménez Pérez

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On Sale for a Limited Time: Parklands Book Series

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On behalf of Conservacion Patagonica and the Conservation Land Trust, the Tompkins Conservation publishing team is producing an ongoing series of large, photo-format books on parks and conservation philanthropy. Previously published volumes include Wildlands Philanthropy, Corcovado National Park, Monte León National Park, Perito Moreno National Park, Yendegaia National Park, and Esteros del Iberá. In development as of 2017 are volumes on Pumalín Park and Chile’s future Patagonia National Park. The series is intended to increase awareness of conservation history, to celebrate the key people who established parks and protected wildlife, and to support nongovernmental organizations working for land and wildlife conservation, primarily in Argentina and Chile. These countries have a rich, century-long history of park creation, and various volumes in the parklands series will share with the world the fine conservation examples that Argentina and Chile have already protected—or might someday safeguard—in their national park systems.

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Yendegaia National Park


In honor of the recent pledge by Tompkins Conservation and the government of Chile to create 10 million acres of new national parklands, publishing partner Goff Books is offering the Parklands Books at 50% for a limited time, or purchase the entire series of five books for $125


Since releasing its first title, Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry (with Sierra Club Books) in 1993, the Tompkins Conservation publishing program has conceived, produced, and funded more than 25 books on conservation topics, anchored by a series of large-format volumes. Following in a tradition pioneered by conservationist David Brower who used exhibit format books to support the Sierra Club’s advocacy work in the 1960s, the Tompkins Conservation staff and colleagues have modernized the genre, producing award-winning books to inspire and educate activists.

We are pleased to share this special offer in conjunction with the biggest announcement in our organization’s history. Thank you for celebrating the protection of wild places.


CORCOVADO Cover

Corcovado National Park Original price $75, Sale price $37.50

In Corcovado National Park, renowned landscape photographer Antonio Vizcaíno captures the beauty and diversity of a magical setting almost untouched by modern humans. With a foreword by President Lagos and essays by other principals in the park’s creation, Corcovado National Park explores the natural wonders of an extraordinary place and tells the stories of the conservationists who made certain it would remain a bastion of wild nature held in trust by the Chilean people for future generations.

MONTE LEON Cover 2Monté Leon National Park Original price $75, Sale price $37.50

Endless sky, rock, and water: Where the arid grasslands of southern Argentina meet the Atlantic Ocean, the wild winds and waters of Patagonia have sculpted a magical landscape. This wonderland is Monte León National Park. Established in 2002 through public–private collaboration, the park’s creation was prompted by a gift from Kristine Tompkins, the former CEO of the clothing company named for this legendary region at the bottom of the Earth.

Screen ShotPerito Moreno National Park Original price $150, Sale price $75

In a region so alluring that is has become synonymous with beauty at the end of the Earth, Perito Moreno National Park is an icon of Patagonia. Named in honor of revered early conservationist Perito Moreno, the “John Muir of Argentina,” this relatively little visited park is a magnet for intrepid travelers and ambitious alpinists. This book presents a stunning collection of images of the park by renowned landscape photographer Antonio Vizcaíno with supporting essays from experts on the park’s natural and cultural history, this elegant volume offers an armchair tour of one of the world’s most scenic and unsullied landscapes.

140910 YDG Dust Cover ENGLISH-1 croppedYendegaia National Park Original price $150, Sale price $75

Yendegaia National Park offers a visually spectacular tour of one of Earth’s most remote and scenic national parks. In Chilean Patagonia on the grand island of Tierra del Fuego, the new park—designated in 2014—was prompted by a donation of private land to the Chilean park system. When combined with adjacent federal land, the new protected area covers some 372,000 acres, and forms a habitat linkage between existing national parks in Chile and Argentina. Thus the new Yendegaia National Park has helped establish one of the planet’s most significant transboundary protected areas, or “peace parks.”

PrintEsteros del Iberá Original price $150, Sale price $75

A wonderland of sky, water, grass, and birdsong, the Iberá marshlands of Corrientes Province are the preeminent wildlife habitat in Argentina and a globally important natural treasure. A native son of Corrientes, world-class nature photographer Juan Ramón Díaz Colodrero, his dazzling images put the reader into the heart of the Iberá’s life-affirming beauty. Supporting essays by leading regional conservationists and other experts illuminate the Iberá’s diverse natural communities and distinctive human culture. While the area is remarkably unspoiled, innovative conservation projects are augmenting wildlife populations and returning missing native species—such as the giant anteater and the jaguar—to their rightful homes in the landscape of shining waters.


To purchase all five books for $125, please email sales@oroeditions.com and provide your name and telephone number (postage charged separately).


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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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American Conservation Philanthropists Receive Highest Biodiversity Conservation Award in Latin America

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BBVA Foundation Awardee Kristine Tompkins Meets with Argentina’s President to Create the Country’s Largest Park

Media Contact: Astrid Vargas, astridvgu@me.com

September 23, 2016—Buenos Aires—The BBVA Foundation has awarded the 2016 Biodiversity Conservation Award of Latin America to the Conservation Land Trust, a Tompkins Conservation foundation. This is the highest award that exists worldwide in the field of biodiversity conservation and has been awarded to Tompkins Conservation for “their great contribution to the conservation of biodiversity in Chile and Argentina through the creation and expansion of eight large protected areas that span over one million hectares, gifted to the respective governments for public access.” The award also recognizes the range of Tompkins Conservation programs such as private land purchase, habitat restoration, endangered species recovery, and the creation of economic alternatives in collaboration with local communities. The other winners of the award include Grupo para la Rehabilitación de la Fauna Autóctona y su Hábitat (GREFA), and journalist Carlos de Hita for his evocative “soundscapes” of nature.

The BBVA Foundation Award committee also recognized, posthumously, “the vision and leadership of Douglas Tompkins, founder of the Conservation Land Trust, and the value of altruistic participation in the conservation of nature.” Douglas died in December 2015 in a kayak accident on a lake in Chilean Patagonia.

Currently Tompkins Conservation is working in partnership with government to create six new national parks in Chile and Argentina, expand four existing parks, and help recover 12 endangered species of fauna. The total area preserved after the creation of these 15 national and 2 provincial parks will be over 6 million hectares (the size of six Yellowstone National Parks), presenting the world’s largest private land donation initiative for biodiversity conservation.

On the same day that the award became public, Kristine Tompkins met with the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, in the president’s official residence, to arrange the donation of Conservation Land Trust lands in order to create Iberá National Park. Once the donation is complete, the joint Iberá National Park and Iberá Provincial Park will be the largest protected natural area in Argentina. Tompkins Conservation has developed the most ambitious rewilding program in the Americas in Iberá, with the reintroduction of at least six locally extinct species of wildlife, including the jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas. Tompkins Conservation cooperates with authorities, companies, and foundations surrounding the park so that the approximately 100,000 people living in this vast region can benefit from the ecotourism that already exists in Iberá and is expected to increase dramatically with the creation of the new national park.

Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, both entrepreneurs of famous American sportswear brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., decided to change the course of their lives over two decades ago and devote all their funds, their time and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: the crisis of biodiversity loss. After careful analysis of the best way to combat the crisis of biodiversity, Kristine and Douglas concluded that the most effective way would be through the creation of large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course. National parks represent the “gold standard” of biodiversity conservation, offering a unique set of ecological attributes, cultural values, ​​and economic benefits to local communities, and presenting the best guarantee of long-term conservation. Tompkins Conservation are also leaders in the Americas in what is known as “rewilding”: the task of reintroducing and restoring wildlife species that have disappeared from a region due to human pressures.

The example Douglas and Kristine Tompkins have made in the field of nature-focused philanthropy is exemplary. Their generosity, altruism, and commitment to the protection and restoration of wild nature is helping to change the global mindset in the field of philanthropy, which overwhelmingly has focused on cultural and social issues. The positive, hopeful work of the Tompkins Conservation team shows how bold, strategic philanthropy can protect beauty and biodiversity while improving the quality of life and income of people living in rural areas.

About Tompkins Conservation: Tompkins Conservation’s mission is to rewild the planet. We pursue this mission by creating national parks, reintroducing missing species, conserving biodiversity, restoring degraded lands, encouraging environmental activism, and supporting ecological agriculture. This work is accomplished through a group of charitable organizations founded by Kristine and Douglas Tompkins that are known collectively as Tompkins Conservation and through agricultural businesses owned by them personally.

For more information please visit www.tompkinsconservation.org

About Conservation Land Trust (CLT): CLT is dedicated to creating and/or expanding national or provincial parks to ensure the perpetuity of their ecological and evolutionary processes with the strongest long-term protection guarantee possible. CLT also supports programs for the protection of wildlife, reintroduction of locally extinct species, land restoration and programs for local development, normally involved in ecotourism, sustainable farming, and environmental education. Our programs at CLT are sustained by values that are based on an ecocentric view of the world, prioritizing the importance of ecosystems and all forms of life therein, regardless of their use to humans.

For more information please visit: www.theconservationlandtrust.org

About the BBVA Foundation: The Foundation engages in the promotion of research, advanced training and the transmission of scientific knowledge to society at large, focusing especially on the analysis of emerging issues in five strategic areas: Environment, Biomedicine and Health, Economy and Society, Basic Sciences and Technology, and Arts and Humanities. The BBVA Foundation designs, develops, and finances research projects in these areas; facilitates advanced, specialist training through grants, courses, seminars and workshops; organizes award schemes for researchers and professionals whose work has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge; and communicates and disseminates such new knowledge through publications, debates, and lectures.

For more information please visit: http://www.fbbva.es/

U.S. Media Contact: Alison Kelman – alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org

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

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