Argentina may be the birthplace of tango, but the Latin American country also hosts diverse ecosystems and a stunning array of wildlife.
Many of Argentina’s iconic species live in the Payunia Reserve, the largest protected area in the Patagonian steppe. The area includes some of the world’s densest concentration of old volcanos, including two peaks rising more than 3,500 meters above sea level. Andean cats, condors, and guanacos, a type of South American llama, also call this dramatic landscape home.
Unfortunately, these native species have been increasingly threatened by local farmers, whose livestock compete with wildlife in an arid environment where food and water already run scarce.
That’s why The Rainforest Site and GreaterGood.org have teamed up with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (Vida Silvestre) to buy back grazing rights from nearby farmers.
The purchase will fold another 43,570 acres into the existing wildlife reserve, providing life-saving habitat for the threatened and endangered animals who call this area home. (The land is located within existing park boundaries, but has been used by farmers who lived here before the reserve was created in 1988.)
“By buying out the grazing rights from livestock producers we have reached an agreement with the Mendoza provincial government to incorporate these lands into the strictly protected core of the reserve,” said Carina Righi, Director of WCS Argentina.
“Conservation of these nearly 43,570 acres is part of a long-term plan supported by GreaterGood.org and implemented by WCS and Vida Silvestre to conserve critical lands and wildlife species in Payunia,” she said.
The park’s expanded size will offer a variety of conservation benefits, especially for large migratory populations of guanacos, whose breeding range was impacted by the steppe’s increased activity. The larger acreage will also benefit Andean Cats, an endangered species regularly killed by vengeful goat farmers. The augmented boundary also protects an important feeding ground for threatened Andean condors, which roost in the nearby mountains.
“When I visited the reserve area I was struck by the diversity and volume of animals, like an American Serengeti,” Tim Kunin, CEO of GreaterGood.com which operates The Rainforest Site, which was founded in 2000 to protect vital habitats and endangered flora and fauna. Since then, your clicking and shopping has helped us save 145,000 acres of wilderness land spanning the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia.
“GreaterGood.org and our partners at The Rainforest Site are proud to fund this important conservation effort,” said Liz Baker, CEO of GreaterGood.org. “Thanks to WCS and Vida Silvestre, this important habitat has been secured for permanent protection—key to our mission to protect people, pets, and the planet.”
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.