Dona Bertarelli has joined forces with Kristine Tompkins and her team at Rewilding Argentina to support a new coastal conservation project, Patagonia Azul (Blue Patagonia).
Patagonia Azul’s objective is to restore a damaged coastal ecosystem in Patagonia and promote a conservation-oriented local economy, so local inhabitants can benefit from sustainable and purposeful work opportunities, becoming empowered protectors of their environment. The project aims to create soundly managed marine and terrestrial protected areas, and to develop new economic activities, such as nature tourism and regenerative food production.
Patagonia Azul occupies a coastal area fed by the cold and biologically rich oceanic currents coming from Antarctica. These currents give rise to the highest productivity and biodiversity rates in the Argentine sea. The sandy beaches, rocky coves, and over 60 islands included in the project provide key breeding, feeding and migration sites for a wide diversity of marine birds, mammals, fish and invertebrates.
The region’s extraordinary biodiversity has drawn plenty of attention, and a number of protected areas have already been established, including a coastal marine area. However, while the current protection categories demonstrate the conservation importance of the region, they provide insufficient protection against industrial fishing which severely damages the ocean floor, invasive exotic species driving the native population to alarmingly low numbers, and the local extinction of top predators and big herbivores due to hunting and poaching.
Created in 2010 by Argentine conservationists and activists, Rewilding Argentina is an independent non-profit organization in the Tompkins Conservation network. The foundation was created to reverse the extinction crisis by restoring complete ecosystems and promoting regenerative local economies that harbor the well-being of local communities.