Kawésqar National Park is established

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Photo: Antonio VizcainoPhoto: Antonio Vizcaino

Tompkins Conservation - At 2,842,329 hectares of virgin ecosystems, the new Kawésqar National Park has been created, making it the second largest national park in Chile after the Bernardo O´Higgins National Park (3.5 million hectares). Located in the Magallanes region, the park stems from an agreement signed between the Chilean government and Tompkins Conservation in March 2017. It establishes the creation of five new national parks (Melimoyu, Patagonia, Kawésqar, Cerro Castillo and Pumalin Douglas Tompkins) and the extension of three others (Hornopiren, Corcovado and Isla Magdalena).
Carolina Morgado, executive director of Tompkins Conservation Chile, said: "This is the last part of the the Protocol Agreement signed during the government of President Michelle Bachelet. With this milestone, the new network of parks in Patagonia is born, a scenic route of 17 national parks with more than 60 nearby communities. It is 2800 kilometers long, from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn, where tourism as a consequence of conservation becomes an alternative of local economic development."

Says Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation and ambassador of the UN Environment Programme: "Chile is a global example of conservation, given that more than 20% of its territory is protected, while marine protected areas reach more than 40% of the Exclusive Economic Zone. This has been possible thanks to the work of different actors of the public and private sector, who have seen in conservation not only an effective tool to preserve ecosystems and counteract climate change, but also as an engine of local economies. Personally I would like to congratulate the different governments of Chile that have worked hard for the creation of five new National Parks and the extension of three others. The Tompkins Conservation team has worked hand in hand with the different administrations to make these parks a reality, so I would also like to highlight their effort and commitment."
The new Kawésqar National Park incorporates the former Alacalufes National Reserve, other state land, and land donated by Tompkins Conservation. In addition, the marine areas are protected under the category of national reserve. Its landscapes are a mosaic composed of mountain ranges, forests, glaciers, fjords, lakes, wetlands and valleys that make up virgin ecosystems of unequalled beauty and habitat of a great diversity of species. The rainforest in Magalalnes dominates the landscape with species such as Magellanic coigüe, Guaitecas cypress, and canelo. As for fauna, highlights include the huemul, puma, wild cats, culpeo and grey foxes, as well as diverse species of birds.