Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

natural dyes

 

Sustainable products promote coexistence between native wildlife
and fiber production

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) and the Wildlife Conservation Society Argentina (WCS) are pleased to announce the Wildlife Friendly™ certification of high quality mohair, merino wool, and cashmere, in recognition of the efforts of a cooperative of criancero herders to co-exist with the region’s native wildlife.

Local mixed-breed dog working as a guarding dog for goats. Credit: Alejandro Gonzalez.

Following years of work to improve land management practices and fiber quality, and support from WCS, 12 herders of the Neuquén, Argentina-based Programa Mohair are now offering both raw fiber and spun yarn for sale, under the Fibras del Viento (Fibers of the Wind) label. Fibers are available in natural colors and dyes, including green from Yerba mate, the national beverage of Argentina. Fine yarn and finished goods are spun and handcrafted at a small mill operated by cooperative members.

“The commitment of these herders participating in the Programa Mohair shows that it is possible to improve land use practices and combine increased product value with real conservation results. This is a high impact social and wildlife achievement that we hope will inspire other livestock producers in Patagonia,” said Guillermo Harris, WCS Argentina Director.

Puma in Laguna Blanca National Park, where some of the certified herders live. Credit: WCS Argentina

The actions of the livestock herders to coexist with native wildlife are important to the conservation of the unique fauna criollo dogs to protect their livestock from predators. Although their family farms are small, and they often struggle to maintain their livelihood, the herders are committed to sustainable production for the good of their land, livestock, and native wildlife.

“We are watching a Wildlife Friendly™ fiber movement unfold right now across Patagonia” said Julie Stein, Executive Director and Co-founder of WFEN. “Part of our mission is to create communities of practice that share innovations, challenges and successes across landscapes. These Programa Mohair herders and a growing number of ranching neighbors are at the leading edge of that effort. Designers, consumers and companies are taking note of their compelling stories of coexistence. Each step forward by these producers has been the result of hard work, and is thrilling to witness. We congratulate these heroes of conservation for their actions.”

Consumers wishing to purchase these responsibly produced fibers can write to ventas.fibrasdelviento@gmail.com or coopeagropezapala@gmail.com

Products made from mohair and mohair-merino blends. Credit: Susan Walker

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About Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

WFEN and its Certified Wildlife Friendly®, Predator Friendly®, Certified Gorilla Friendly™, Jaguar and Sea Turtle Friendly™ certification programs represent grassroots farmers, ranchers, artisans, indigenous peoples and conservation heroes from around the world including two World Bank Development Marketplace Award winners, a U.N. Equator Prize winner, leadership in the world’s marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets, a Time Hero for the Planet, and a National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee. Certified Wildlife Friendly® products contribute to the conservation of over twelve million hectares of diverse wetlands, forests, and grasslands; protect keystone endangered species in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin and North America, including the Snow Leopard, Elephant, Tiger, Cheetah, Red Panda, and Wolf; and benefit over 200,000 people through increased food security, income and employment. For more information visit: www.wildlifefriendly.org

About WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

Visit: www.wcsargentina.org;

http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS;
http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia
Follow: @thewcs

Contact:

Wildlife Friendly

Julie Stein: Julie@wildlifefriendly.org
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