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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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins Awarded the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

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New York, June 22, 2017Kristine 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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STATEMENT FROM TOMPKINS CONSERVATION REGARDING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD

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Photo: Justin Lotak

The people of Tompkins Conservation, who are working in three countries on two continents, are appalled by the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. participation in the Paris agreement. While insufficient to address the climate crisis, the Paris accord is a useful first step toward bolder, binding action that moves human society toward a low-carbon energy future.

Beyond the richly deserved condemnation from around the world, the Trump administration’s action deserves to be analyzed, ridiculed, and contrasted with the leadership shown by other national governments around the globe. In Chile and Argentina, where our national park creation and rewilding efforts are helping build resiliency to climate change, Presidents Michelle Bachelet and Mauricio Macri, respectively, have articulated their strong commitment to the growing international movement to address climate change.

More important than words, however, the Bachelet and Macri governments have taken decisive action in recent months to expand protected areas that sustain vital wildlife habitat and sequester carbon. Both of these leaders have explicitly drawn the connection between habitat conservation and their nations’ commitments to mitigate climate change, understanding that the crucial task of transitioning toward a clean energy economy is only part of confronting the climate crisis.

At Tompkins Conservation, we believe that the willful ignorance of some political leaders can and will be trumped by the concerted actions of individuals, governments, and nongovernmental organizations across the planet who are working for a durable future—for all life on Earth. We are more committed than ever to use our energy, expertise, and resources to advance hopeful, durable projects that protect wild nature, benefit human communities, and help minimize climate chaos. With every hectare protected and species recovery effort implemented, we are acting with our hearts and hands to create a world with adequate habitat for all and a stable climate that supports flourishing natural and human communities.

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