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|World Land Trust eBulletin number 3 - October 2002 Patagonia Special Edition|
Welcome to the Patagonia Special!
In September, WLT was privileged to have José Maria Musmeci, director of Fundación Patagonia Natural , visit the UK to work with us, and to report on the current activities at La Esperanza. A great deal took place during Jose Maria's visit, and so we have made the Patagonia Project, the focus for this month's eBulletin.
The Argentine NGO, Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN), currently head up a wide range of essential conservation work in Patagonia, including animal rescue operations after oil spills, animal rehabilitation programmes for Maras (Patagonian Hares) and Guanacos (relatives of the domesticated Llamas), and campaigning for appropriate land management in areas important to wildlife. FPN are also WLT partners in the challenge to protect the fragile coastal steppe habitat in Patagonia.
While in the UK, Jose Maria (and WLT) met with a number of different people and organisations interested in supporting the project. Among these was the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have recently supported the project by sending books (including scientific text-books and field guides) out to Argentina, for use by FPN staff and volunteers. These books were kindly donated by the Natural History Book Service, which is supporting WLT's "NGO Book Distribution Service". Discussions were also held with Colchester Zoo to set up a live web camera to view the activity of the Sea Lion colony at La Esperanza, hopefully to coincide with the launch of Colchester Zoo's new Sea Lion enclosure in 2003. www.colchester-zoo.co.uk
recent observations have been made of the elusive Puma and Geoffroy's
Cat (a small Spotted cat) by José Maria Musmeci. These animals
are naturally shy, and in the past have been killed by farmers. You can
see more photographs, and read the full story at www.worldlandtrust.org/news/puma.htm
At La Esperanza, sustainability is high on the WLT's list of objectives for the project. Electricity is harnessed using solar power; windmills are used to pump ground water; and now wool from responsibly managed sheep will be used to generate income.
Amongst the many aspects needed to ensure the success of a conservation project, is financial sustainability. The lack of this essential ingredient is often where conservation projects fall short, and projects that are over-dependent on outside funding, risk losing everything when the flow runs dry. Financial planning for the future is necessary in every conservation project, where the main aim is to ensure that it can pay for itself.
Recently, Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN), WLT's partner in this project, have been working with local craft workers to produce high quality woollen handicrafts, including bags, scarves, belts, jumpers and shawls. This will not only support the project, as all profits will go straight back into the running and maintenance of La Esperanza, but will also support local people and their economy during Argentina's time of economic crisis. The wool used to produce the handicrafts is sheared, using traditional methods, from the Merino sheep still present on La Esperanza in numbers that are not harmful to the fragile steppe habitat. The WLT has been consulting with local Suffolk business, Focus Organic, who specialise in selling organic and fair-trade produce, about marketing and selling these products in the UK, so that a regular income can be generated.
An evening reception, for which José Maria Musmeci attended as Guest of Honour, was held on September 11th 2002 to celebrate the ongoing success of the La Esperanza Reserve and to give thanks to the generosity of WLT supporters in East Anglia.
The poignant event, for which novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard kindly donated the use of her home and gardens in Bungay (Suffolk), commemorated the tragedy of the terrorist attacks in America, as well as the official launch of the Patagonia project, which was coincidentally held on the same day. Unlike the previous year, the evening was a success, with speeches from Jose Maria Musmeci, Director of FPN; Bruce Pearson, WLT supporter and president of the Society of Wildlife Artists; Chris Jenkin, of Enterprise Plants (a sponsor of the event); and John Burton, CEO of the World Land Trust. The event was also sponsored by Adnams, who provided the "Adnam's Fizz" for the evening.
Content On Line & WLT website now available in Spanish
Please pass on our address to any friends who might be interested. www.worldlandtrust.org