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WFEN Welcomes Patagonia Park as First Certified Enterprise in Chile

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The future Patagonia National Park, Chile, is now Certified Wildlife Friendly™ showcasing flagship coexistence efforts, wildlife conservation and wild lands protection for tourists while supporting the local economy 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 AYSÉN REGION, CHILE: – APRIL-2017– The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), a global community dedicated to the development and promotion of products and tourism that contribute to the conservation of threatened wildlife and to the economic vitality of rural landscapes, is pleased to announce the awarding of Wildlife Friendly™ Certification to Patagonia Park, part of Conservacion Patagonica whose mission is to promote the creation of national parks in Patagonia (Argentina and Chile), in collaboration with neighboring communities and local, regional, and national governments, that save and restore wildlands and wildlife, inspire care for the natural world, and generate healthy economic opportunities for local communities.

Originally one of the region’s largest sheep ranches, Estancia Valle Chacabuco changed ownership several times over the past century, resulting in an overgrazed and degraded landscape. When Kris and Doug Tompkins first visited the Valle Chacabuco Valley in 1995, CONAF (Chile’s National Forest Service) had long recognized the need to prioritize the protection of these unique and biodiverse ecosystems. With help from Tompkins Conservation and Conservacion Patagonica, the 170,500-acre Estancia Chacabuco was acquired. In subsequent years several other adjacent properties have been purchased from willing sellers, bringing the currently total area of protected land to close to 200,000 acres. Eventually, Patagonia Park will be combined with the Jeinimeni National Reserve to the north and the Tamango National Reserve to the south, to create a 640,000-acre Patagonia National Park. This will allow bi-national trans-boundary access across the border of Chile and Argentina and will provide ecosystem continuity, wildlife corridors, and tourist driving and hiking circuits.

“For Conservación Patagonica it is an honour to receive the Wildlife Friendly™ Certification in Chile which is a LDGlandmark supporting the feasibility of traditional livestock activities in Patagonia coexisting with top predators such as pumas”, said Paula Herrera, a veterinary doctor and livestock manager for the Park. “It has been a long process, over eight years involving changes in the carrying capacity, herding practices and a strong involvement of local gauchos. Today, we are very proud to reach the point where our neighbors recognize our status as a protected area, and the high quality of our products (meat, wool and breeding stock) associated with different livestock management practices such as the pioneering use of livestock guardian dogs to reduce predation in southern Patagonia.

 

LGD2“We are thrilled to recognize the incredible restoration, conservation and coexistence work happening here in Patagonia Park,” said WFEN Executive Director Julie Stein during a recent visit to the park to meet with the wildlife team and other staff. “It is truly inspiring to witness first hand this celebration of wild places including the hard but essential work to coexist with apex predators like pumas and by proving that the local economy can be supported through Wildlife Friendly™ tourism and products. We don’t have to choose between thriving businesses and thriving biodiversity – both are possible and in fact are inter-dependent.”

Efforts at Patagonia Park include extensive grasslands restoration, removal of over 400 miles of fencing which fragmented critical habitat by blocking wildlife corridors and entangling species like Guanacos in barbed wire leading to mortality. There is also an endangered Huemul Deer recovery program, a breeding center for Darwin’s Rheas, an Andean Condor reintroduction effort, and Puma monitoring, as well as a thriving livestock guard dog program to protect livestock from predation.

Patagonia Park is an initiative led by Conservación Patagonica since 2004, whose main goal throughout has been the formal donation of the land to the Chilean State to create Patagonia National Park, an agreement which was finalized and signed by the Chilean President President Michelle Bachelet on March 15 2017.

“The need for people and wildlife to not only coexist but to benefit each other is a challenge for protected areas and neighboring lands and communities,” said Cristián Saucedo, Conservation Director. At Conservación Patagónica, we believe this, and we invite other Chilean initiatives to be part of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, because we see this as a unique opportunity which links tourism, conservation, local communities and caring for the land as all part of our long- term vision for wild lands in Chile.”

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About Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network 

WFEN and its 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, Tiger, Elephant, 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 Patagonia Park 

Conservacion Patagonica works to create national parks in Patagonia that save and restore wildlands and wildlife, inspire care for the natural world, and generate healthy economic opportunities for local communities. For more information see www.tompkinsconservation.org / www.kristinetompkins.com / www.parquepatagonia.org

Tompkins Conservation: https://www.facebook.com/tompkinsconservation/

Patagonia Park: https://www.facebook.com/parquepatagoniaoficial/ 

Conservacion Patagonica: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectPatagonia/ 

Conservacion Patagonica: https://www.instagram.com/conservacionpatagonica/ 

Patagonia Park: https://www.instagram.com/parquepatagonia/ 

Contact: 

Patagonia Park 

Dr. Paula Herrera, Livestock guardian dog program: pherrera@conservacionpatagonica.cl 

Dr. Cristián Saucedo, Director of Wildlife Projects: csaucedo@conservacionpatagonica.cl 

Alison Kelman, US Media Contact: alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org 

Wildlife Friendly 

Julie Stein: Julie@wildlifefriendly.org 

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WCS Argentina’s Patagonian Fibers with a Conscience™ Program and Certified Wildlife Friendly™ Ranchers Make Wool Available Sustainable Fashion Buyers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Puerto madryn, Argentina (November 4, 2016)—The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) and the Wildlife Conservation Society-Argentina (WCS) are pleased to announce traceable Certified Wildlife Friendly® wool—part of the “Patagonian Fibers with a Conscience” program—from the “Merino de Peninsula Valdés™” ranchers who raise wool in coexistence with wildlife on Peninsula Valdés. The traceable certified wool is now available for purchase through a new online portal.

Photo © Ricardo Baldi

Photo © Ricardo Baldi

WCS Argentina supports the ranchers of the Merino Peninsula Valdés™ group who are committed to managing their ranches to allow healthy populations of guanacos, rheas, and maras to co-exist with their sheep, and to use non-lethal methods to control predation by pumas, chilla foxes, and Geoffroy’s and pampas cats. Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (FVSA) will provide third-party verification of compliance with commitments and collaborate with WCS to monitor impacts on wildlife. “We all agree in making the coexistence between sheep ranching and healthy wildlife a long-term achievement,” said Alejandro Arias, coordinator of the FVSA program in Península Valdés.

Península Valdés is a 4,000square-kilometer (1,544 square miles) protected area in Patagonia, declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1999. Compared to other sites in the region, the steppe of Península Valdés still harbors significant populations of native wildlife, and its waters are critical habitat for southern right whales, sea lions, and elephant seals during reproduction. Although a management plan has been effective in conserving coastal wildlife, the land is privately owned and sheep ranching is widespread within the area.

“These ranchers are committed to implement wildlife-friendly practices because they are convinced that their economic futures are better served by moving away from maximizing sheep stocking rates on their ranches and adding value by conserving native species at Península Valdés, an emblematic site of Patagonia. To achieve our goals, we are implementing management actions based on scientific research on wildlife ecology,” said Ricardo Baldi, a scientist from CONICET, the Argentine national science agency, and consultant for WCS.

Photo © Ricardo Baldi

Photo © Ricardo Baldi

“’Patagonian Fibers with a Conscience™’ serves as an inspiring example of how to combine sustainability with effective conservation,” said Dr. Guillermo Harris, Director of WCS’s Argentina Program. “We’re showing that we can protect guanacos and other wildlife and support the local economy. It’s a win-win for Peninsula Valdés.” WCS work with these ranchers is supported by the USFWS Wildlife without Borders program.

“We’ve had keen interest in this wool from the sustainable fashion industry,” said Julie Stein, Executive Director of WFEN, a global community dedicated to enterprises that contribute to the conservation of threatened wildlife and to the economic vitality of rural landscapes. “It’s very exciting.  For example, luxury-brand Bolek, has utilized this wool for their upcoming knitwear capsule collection.“

“Projects like Wildlife Friendly® and Merino de Peninsula Valdés™ give new designers like me the unique opportunity to do what is right from the beginning,” said Sarah Chojecki, founder of Bolek.   Ms. Chojecki, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, is headquartered in New York City and curated a partnership with Wildlife Friendly® on the basis that consumers should have ecological awareness and sustainability in the forefront of their minds when purchasing.

Sarah Chojecki of luxury brand Bolek

Sarah Chojecki of luxury brand Bolek

“This is one of the only landscapes in the world where wool is produced adjacent to a thriving marine ecosystem. It’s special,” Ms. Chojecki mused. “To have ranchers that go the extra mile to allow wildlife to have a safe refuge on private lands. It’s important. More individuals should be like this.”

“We applaud forward thinking designers like Ms. Chojecki for building wildlife and sustainability into the DNA of their companies,” said Ms. Stein.

The shearing season in Patagonia occurs during October and November and wool is available for purchase beginning in December of each year. To learn more about wool specifications please visit the Merino de Península Valdés website. To inquire about purchasing Certified Wildlife Friendly® wool from the Merino de Península Valdés™ group please contact Merino de Peninsula Valdés

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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 the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 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: www.wcs.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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