Criticism puts conservation foundation on defensive


Reintroduced jaguar in Argentina with young born in the wild. (Photo by Rewilding Argentina)

Widely praised for its years of land conservation and wildlife-reintroduction work in Argentina, a foundation established by the late U.S. entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins finds itself facing pointed pushback from local scientists. The “production of nature” conservation approach practiced by the Rewilding Argentina Foundation comes in for broad criticism in an article published recently in an Argentine mammalogy journal and signed by 125 scientists. The model involves the reintroduction of large mammals on naturally restored former agricultural lands, the goal being to stimulate tourism capable of spurring ongoing habitat conservation as well as sustainable forms of community development. The scientists argue in their article that the model has been implemented with insufficient stakeholder input. They also ask whether the foundation’s approach might appear “xenophobic” by imposing “the agenda of entrepreneurship” on Indigenous communities, ignoring “our pluricultural reality.” Following the article’s publication, the foundation threatened to sue the scientists for defamation... [Log in to read more]

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