May and June Newsletter from the future Patagonia National Park

NEWS FROM THE FUTURE PATAGONIA NATIONAL PARK

May and June 2011

In the past two months, Chilean Patagonia has made headlines many times, as the campaign to defend its mighty rivers blossomed. Here’s news straight from the heart of this wild region: the future Patagonia National Park.

While the battle over the HidroAysen hydroelectric dams intensifies, Conservacion Patagonica continues making strides in the protection and restoration of our unique part of Patagonia.  Tracking endangered huemul, collaring pumas, surveying habitat recovery, building campgrounds, organizing community events–even as winter begins, the park moves towards completion.

Below you’ll find a quick overview of the HidroAysen / Patagonia Sin Represas (“Patagonia Without Dams”) news, and then photo updates from the park.  Click the photos or links to read the full stories on our blog.  As always, we’re grateful to the staff, supporters, volunteers, and friends bringing this park into existence.  To contribute, visit www.conservacionpatagonica.org or click here.

PATAGONIA SIN REPRESAS NEWS SUMMARY

On May 9th, Chilean officials voted to approve the HidroAysen hydroelectric project, which would erect five dams on pristine Patagonian rivers and construct a 1200 mile transmission line all the way to Santiago.  Studies have shown that Chile can meet its energy needs through instating energy efficiency standards and developing non-conventional renewable energy.

Millions of Chileans have expressed their outrage over the HidroAysen decision: 74% say they’d support higher energy prices to protect wild Patagonia.  Countless demonstrations, such as the May 13 march in Santiago pictured above, have brought hundreds of thousands into the streets to take a stand for clean energy and transparent democracy.

This campaign has put Patagonia in the spotlight like never before, raising awareness of its beauty, wildness, and need for protection.

Here’s a selection of recent press on the Patagonia Sin Represas movement:

PATAGONIA NATIONAL PARK PROJECT NEWS

The story of Silencio, Huemul of the Baker River: Conservacion Patagonica’s Luigi Solis and Daniel Velasquez tell about tracking endangered huemuls in the impact zone of HidroAysen.

Puma collaring on track: since the beginning of winter arrived, the wildlife team has spent days tracking pumas–and collared their first cats of the season.

Gigapanning Patagonia:one of our Science Advisors, Dr. Stuart Pimm, helped us establish this new photo imaging system, which will generate a detailed record of ecosystem changes throughout the future park.

New video, from our friend Weston Boyles, about the Kayaking School in Cochrane, the closest town to the future park.  The dozens of kids in the program learn whitewater kayaking and rafting, and explore the rivers around their home, including the threatened Baker River.

Species profile: the threatened Mountain Viscacha

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