New Museum and Visitor Center in Patagonia Park Unveiled

Located in the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia, the new Patagonia Park Museum and Visitor Center combines the aesthetics of a nineteenth century museum of natural history with modern technology and attractive, interactive elements.

Why National Parks? This is the question explored in the new Patagonia Park Museum and Visitor Center, which interactively presents the landscape and cultural history of the Chacabuco Valley, incorporating a moving and inspiring story about the importance of National Parks and ecological loss and recovery.

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Located in the commune of Cochrane within Chile’s Aysén region, the new Museum and Visitor Center combines the aesthetics of a nineteenth-century museum of natural history with modern technology and interactive elements. It is composed of a large central room that is subdivided into four areas that cover the ecosocial crisis, nature, culture, and activism, as well as an experiential space with an audiovisual show.

The interpretive center was opened by Tompkins Conservation President Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, who noted: “This Visitor Center was Doug’s dream that emerged more than 10 years ago, and today, has become a reality thanks to the people and foundations that supported this initiative. With this museum, we want to generate a culture of conservation, inviting visitors to be inspired by the beauty of the park and to get closer to Patagonia’s great natural and cultural heritage.”

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

In this regard, the Executive Director of CONAF, José Manuel Rebolledo, stressed that “through the exhibition and educational story of this center, the aim is to make people aware of how biodiversity is being impacted globally, and the collective action we must take to avoid its progressive deterioration. All of this reveals the public and educational value of protected areas and national parks, while also recovering the history of the area.”

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

This Visitor Center is inaugurated on the eve of Patagonia Park becoming an official National Park. At over 750,000 acres, Patagonia National Park will include land donated by Tompkins Conservation; the Jeinimeni and Tamango reserves; plus federal land from the government of Chile.

The museum is open to the public and admission is free. 

Details:

LOCATION:

Patagonia Park, Cochrane, Aysén Region, Chile

HOURS:

Monday – Friday:  9:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:30
Saturday and Sunday:  9:00- 13:00 and 14:30-18:00

(Enter until 30 minutes before the center closes.)

SURFACE AREA:

762 square meters

MUSEOGRAPHY:

Experience Project

ARCHITECTS:

Francisco Morandé Ruiz-Tagle – Douglas R. Tompkins

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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins Receives Recognition from Chilean-North American Chamber of Commerce

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation, was honored for her “Lifetime Contribution to the Wildlands of Chile” at the North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce’s (NACCC) 100th anniversary celebration.

Various authorities—such as the Ambassador of Chile in the United States, his Excellency Alfonso Silva Navarro, and Roberto de Andraca, former President of the CAP Business Directory—participated in this event, which took place on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, in New York City. The President of the NACCC, Manuelita Cody, led the event.

Photo Credit: NACCC – North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce

On this special ocassion, the North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce paid special tribute to three individuals who have contributed to the relationship between Chile and the United States. One of them was Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, who was also the keynote speaker at the event. “I am very proud to receive this recognition on behalf of the entire Tompkins Conservation team. Chile is recognized worldwide for its conservation leadership, thanks to the tremendous public and private efforts that have allowed more than 20% of the country’s territory to be protected. We will continue to work on conservation in Chile and promote the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia,” said the philanthropist, who along with her husband Douglas Tompkins have helped create 13 national parks in Chile and Argentina through Tompkins Conservation.

Photo Credit: NACCC – North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce

The other winners honored that evening were Alfredo Ergas, who received the “Executive of the Year” award, and Lester Zifrren, who received a special posthumous acknowledgment as “Historic Executive Director of the Chilean-North American Chamber of Commerce.”

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Campaign Promoting Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia Launches

Tompkins Conservation and Imagen de Chile launched an initiative that seeks to promote Chilean Patagonia’s scenic 1,700-mile route, located between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn, and its 17 national parks and more than 60 surrounding communities.

Photo Credit: Weston Boyles

Photo Credit: Weston Boyles

Let Chile be recognized as a global example of tourism based on conservation. That is the ambition behind the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia campaign, launched by Tompkins Conservation and Imagen de Chile. The project seeks to promote the 1,700-mile route located between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn, along with the 17 National Parks and over 60 surrounding communities it encompasses, integrating the Carretera Austral, the Patagonian Channels, and the End of the World Route.

“We want Chile to be internationally recognized for having the most spectacular scenic route in the world, and thus become a benchmark for economic development based on conservation. The Route of Parks is a protected heritage of all Chileans, and its 17 national parks are a challenge and an opportunity, as much for the more than 60 communities that live near them as for those who visit them,” explained Carolina Morgado, Executive Director of Tompkins Conservation Chile, at a conference organized by Imagen de Chile.

Photo Credit: Rafael Pérez

Photo Credit: Rafael Pérez

In this regard, Jorge Cortés, Executive Director of Image of Chile stressed that, “abroad we are recognized as a destination ‘rich in natural beauty,’ as well as for being ‘exciting’ and ‘fascinating,’ so these parks will reinforce the global positioning of our extreme geography, especially in a sustainable framework.”

The campaign includes the new web page, www.rutadelosparques.org, which will provide all of those traveling to Patagonia with unique information about the territory, as well as suggested excursions, transportation tips, accommodation, and more than 50 trails tracked with GPS.

Photo Credit: Augusto Dominguez

Photo Credit: Augusto Dominguez

A contest was also announced, inviting participants to share an experience in 101-words about how national parks have changed their lives. The prize will be a tour for two people spanning much of the Route. The stories submitted will be collected and serve as the basis for a digital book.

Tompkins Conservation, together with other organizations, is exploring the feasibility of raising a private fund to contribute to the development of the Route of Parks, as other countries such as Costa Rica and Brazil have done.

Route of Parks Figures:

  • 17 National Parks
  • More than 60 communities
  • 1,700 miles, spanning from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn
  • 3 regions of Chile: Los Lagos, Aysén, and Magallanes
  • Over 28.4 million acres protected
  • 91% of the territory is categorized as national parkland
  • 140 species of birds
  • 46 species of mammals

National Parks Within the Route of Parks:

  1. Alerce Andino National Park
  2. Hornopirén National Park
  3. Pumalín National Park – Douglas R. Tompkins
  4. Corcovado National Park
  5. Melimoyu National Park
  6. Queulat National Park
  7. Isla Magdalena National Park
  8. Laguna San Rafael National Park
  9. Cerro Castillo National Park
  10. Patagonia National Park
  11. Bernardo O´Higgins National Park
  12. Kawésqar National Park
  13. Torres del Paine National Park
  14. Pali-Aike National Park
  15. Alberto de Agostini National Park
  16. Yendegaia National Park
  17. Cabo de Hornos National Park

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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and Pope Francis Meet for First Time

President of Tompkins Conservation supports the expansion of the concept of “peace” to include peace between humans and the non-human world

Photo Credit: Servizio Fotografico Vaticano

VATICAN CITY (July 6, 2018) — Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President and Cofounder of Tompkins Conservation, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican earlier this week.  Mrs. Tompkins was invited to a private audience with the Pope to discuss terrestrial and marine conservation, as well as strategies to generate economic development and prosperity from conservation in local communities.

Mrs. Tompkins sought Pope Francis’s thoughts on the idea that it is time to expand the concept of peace so that it not only refers to human interactions, but also peace between the human and non-human worldthat all life has intrinsic value and until there is true balance between all species and an equilibrium in our planetary ecosystem, human communities will not reach a peaceful and healthy existence.

Mrs. Tompkins and Pope Francis were joined by Sofia Heinonen, Director of Tompkins Conservation (TC) and The Conservation Land Trust (CLT). Tompkins and Heinonen discussed the programs TC and CLT have been leading in Chile and Argentina for the last 26 years that are dedicated to terrestrial and marine conservation and ecosystem restoration; rewilding protected areas; reintroducing locally-extinct species to their native range; and fostering economic development across communities connected to these conservation efforts.

The value of the creation of Peace Parks, in keeping with the values of the 2015 Laudato si’ Encyclical about working toward the “care of our common home,” was discussed and a dream of an emblematic Bi-Oceanic Peace Park in southern Chile and Argentina was thought interesting, as 40 years ago, Pope John Paul II mediated peace between the two countries.

The teams of Tompkins Conservation in Chile, Argentina and the United States are grateful and honored for the opportunity to have their work represented to Pope Francis and that Mrs. Tompkins could meet and discuss many areas of interest with His Holiness Pope Francis.

About Tompkins Conservation: Tompkins Conservation collaborates with the governments of Chile and Argentina, local organizations, and communities to create national parks— places of beauty, abundant wildlife, and recreation that serve as sources of income and pride to neighboring communities and the entire nation. To date, the organization has created 13 national parks and protected 13 million acres of national parklands with its partners. For more information, visit: www.tompkinsconservation.org

Tompkins Conservation was founded by Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., who changed the course of their lives more than 25 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: biodiversity loss. The Tompkinses ultimately 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. In May 2018, Kristine Tompkins was designated UN Environment Patron of Protected Areas.

Media Contact:

Erin Louie Billman, Global Communications Director, Tompkins Conservation

louie@tompkinsconservation.org

+1 415 277 1846

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The First Jaguar Cubs Are Born in Iberá After Decades of Absence

Hermanos 6

The two new jaguar cubs with their mother.

Meet the newest additions to Iberá Park in Argentina.

June 6, 2018, is a historic day for Tompkins Conservation’s rewilding efforts, as it marks the arrival of two new jaguar cubs in Iberá Park, situated in the wetlands of northeastern Argentina. These two new cubs are not only the first newborns from our CLT Jaguar Reintroduction Program at Iberá Park, but represent the first jaguars born in decades in this region, where the species has been absent since the industrialization of the 20th century.

The jaguar is the largest and one of the most iconic felines in the Americas, but hunting, habitat loss, and other threats left the species in danger of extinction in Argentina. Having lost 95% of their original distribution, it is currently estimated that only some 200 individuals remain in Argentina, distributed mainly in isolated patches of the jungles of Misiones province and in the mountain slope forests (“yungas”) of Salta and Jujuy provinces.

Aerial image of breeding center

An aerial view of the Jaguar Reintroduction Program Center

To reverse the local extinction of this keystone species, we launched this pioneering Jaguar Reintroduction Program in 2011. Our team in Argentina – ranging from scientists and veterinarians to community stakeholders and policy makers – has been collaborating with the goal of breeding a generation of jaguars that could be released into their natural habitat and survive independently in the wild. With five mature jaguars – that came from zoos and rescue centers around South America and are not candidates for release themselves but can be bred – and 650,000 acres of fitting habitat teeming with caimans, capybaras and other food sources, the Jaguar Breeding Program at Iberá has incredible potential to support the return of this ecologically important and culturally iconic species.

The two new cubs are offspring of two of the program’s jaguar on loan from partnering institutions: Chiqui, the father, was born in the wild but lived in a rescue center after being orphaned by a hunter; Tania, the mother, came to the center after being born and raised in a zoo. It is notable that Tania is missing a leg from an incident she endured when she was just a cub. Despite this disability, she has learned to hunt for herself since joining the Jaguar Reintroduction Program and is now the mother of the first cubs born in Iberá in approximately half a century.

TANIA_mother

Tania, the mother of the two new cubs.

In the words of Maite Ríos, the head of the Jaguar Reintroduction Program, “It’s great news that an animal with a disability and that seemed condemned to life in captivity, like Tania, is able not only to live in semi-natural conditions and hunt for herself, but to become the mother of the first cubs that could possibly live freely in Iberá soon. Tania’s history of overcoming obstacles inspires us to keep working and collaborating with other institutions to care for and restore the heritage of all inhabitants of Corrientes province and of Argentina. For the moment, we see that the cubs are suckling well from their mother, but we must be very prudent because we’re talking about a first-time mother who must still learn to raise her brood on her own, without interference on the part of humans. With a view to being able to free them, it’s very important for these tiny jaguars to grow up in the most natural manner possible.”

Jaguar Cubs_Rafa

The two new cubs rest with their mother, Tania. Photo credit: CLT Argentina.

With the birth of these cubs, an important step has been taken in Tompkins Conservation’s rewilding work in Iberá, which is the result of the dream and the vision of Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, who first fell in love with these vast, wild wetlands in 1997. Today, the area not only has the first jaguar cubs, but is home to recovered populations of species that had been lost, like the anteater, the Pampas deer, the tapir, the collared peccary and the red-and-green macaw. In addition, our team has already donated approximately 150,000 acres to the Argentine government to create the future Iberá National Park.

As Sofía Heinonen, CLT Executive Director, states, “This is a historic moment for Iberá and the rest of Argentina, as we see how our most endangered mammal, an emblem of our country, takes a step towards its recovery. Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of people and tens of organizations in Corrientes, Argentina and other countries over many years, Iberá is now recognized as being among the world’s major nature destinations and as an inspiring story of environmental and cultural restoration, and the jaguar is currently moving away from the abyss of extinction.”

We look forward to seeing these cubs and this program develop over the years to come and invite you to follow along.

For more information, visit www.proyectoibera.org.

Jaguar Reintroduction Program Contacts:

Alicia Delgado (CLT biologist): ali1979web@yahoo.com.ar. / +5493794256201

Gustavo Solís (CLT veterinarian): estabsanjose@hotmail.com  / +5493794409995

Media Contact:

Erin Louie Billman, Global Communications Director, Tompkins Conservation

louie@tompkinsconservation.org / +1 415 277 1846

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