How philanthropy created Chile’s new 10 million acre National Park

Chile rainforest

As reported by National Geographic magazine, Chile's government has delivered on its promise to add more land to the stunning wilderness of Patagonia Park, one of the nation's newest national parks, in conjunction with conservationist Kristine Tomkins.

Patagonia Park is already a haven for extraordinary wildlife, including the extremely rare and critically endangered  huemul, a kind of deer, plus astonishing birds like the condor and Darwin’s rhea. The announcement should help conserve these wonders for the future.

Congratulations to Chile's President, thanks to the Tompkins'

The Chilean president Michelle Bachelet has declared a major expansion of his country's national parklands, creating two brand new parks and protecting enormous chunks of rainforest, grassland and other types of unique wilderness for future generations.

This is an extraordinary move in a world where short termism and greed so often win out over conservation-minded long term thinking. In Bachelet's words, “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we… expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres, thus, national parks in Chile will increase by 38.5% to account for 81.1% of Chile’s protected areas.”

The announcement is music to the ears of conservationists, for whom news this good is a rarity. It's an incredible achievement for the conservation movement worldwide and proves that where there's a will, there's a way.

Music to the ears of conservationists

This is probably the world’s biggest ever donation of private land, thanks to two US  philanthropist Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Doug, who together ran the highly respected Tompkins Conservation organisation.

Kristine has gifted the Chilean government just over a million acres of land, which the couple bought and protected over the decades,  and the Chilean government has contributed nearly nine million acres of federally owned land. The result is a huge protected area roughly the size of Switzerland, a place rich in huge snow-capped mountains, vast canyons, fjords, white water rivers and enormous coastal volcanoes.

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