Rewilding Chile Is Launched

Aug 26, 2021 | Chile, Community, Rewilding

PUERTO VARAS, Chile — After leading conservation efforts in Chilean Patagonia for over 28 years, the nonprofit created by Kristine and Douglas Tompkins launches a new name to reflect the central role of large-scale ecological restoration in fighting the biodiversity crisis and providing natural climate solutions for the global climate crisis.

Tompkins Conservation Chile has changed its name to Rewilding Chile to emphasize the role of rewilding in the work it has undertaken since 1992, when Kristine and Douglas Tompkins embarked on ambitious conservation endeavors in Chilean Patagonia. The organization is a strategic partner of Tompkins Conservation, a US-based nonprofit. 

Rewilding, or ecological restoration, has been integral to the organization’s strategy to create national parks with functional ecosystems, through the active management of threatened species and collaboration with neighboring communities as part of an integral approach to conservation in the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia.

For Carolina Morgado, executive director of Rewilding Chile, the name change reflects the day-to-day work of the organization. “We are happy for this step that we are taking, which is in line with a worldwide movement that promotes rewilding as one of the most effective tools to counteract the global extinction crisis and the climate crisis.”

Kristine Tompkins, co-founder of Rewilding Chile, said: “The name Rewilding Chile promotes the idea that we will bring back species where they have gone missing. Where the gems of the country haven’t been protected, we will help protect them in perpetuity. I will continue to work alongside the Chilean team, as I always have, under a new name that strongly identifies our future path.”

Currently, the nonprofit is working toward the creation of the National Huemul Corridor, collaborating with the Chilean state to create new national and marine parks, donating land to expand existing national parks and promoting a network of national parks allies along the Route of Parks of Patagonia. The rewilding program will begin a new monitoring program for wild cats, while continuing to work with highly endangered huemul deer, Darwin’s rhea and puma in Patagonia National Park, in conjunction with Chile’s national park agency Conaf.

What is Rewilding?

Rewilding refers to the ecological restoration of species and environments to achieve complete and healthy ecosystems. Rewilding actions include reintroducing locally extinct fauna and assisting species that are vulnerable or at risk of extinction, and therefore not adequately fulfilling their ecological function. 

Rewilding is one of the key solutions that are currently being considered to restore the balance of the earth, benefiting not only wildlife, but also all of us who inhabit the planet: it solves environmental problems, reduces the chances of derived natural disasters from the climate crisis, mitigates the proliferation of pandemics and provides opportunities for economic development through nature-based tourism.

Rewilding Chile is part of a global conservation network, together with the US-based nonprofit Tompkins Conservation and Rewilding Argentina. It is also a member of the Global Rewilding Alliance, which brings together more than 100 organizations from around the world.