Our well-being and subsistence depend on the integrity of nature. Protected areas such as Karukinka, together with the commitment, knowledge, and capacity of WCS, allow its conservation.
With your contribution you will be helping to protect these Patagonian systems and the magnificent life they house.
It is the largest protected area of the Island of Tierra del Fuego, with almost 300 thousand hectares (about 740,000 acres) that WCS Chile administrates and conserves since 2004. With a comprehensive approach, it seeks to preserve nature and put a value on it through Science, Education, and Conservation.
OUR PARK RANGERS
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO PROTECT?
The guanacos have been present on the island of Tierra del Fuego for 8,000 years, migrating and traveling every corner of the island. They were the base of food and materials for the native Selk’nam people, and with the collapse of this tribe came the populations of guanacos.
From Peru to Tierra del Fuego, the guanaco has been part of all Andean cultures, but today it only occupies 40% of its original habitat. The loss and fragmentation of their habitat, competition with livestock and illegal hunting for their skin and fiber are their main threats.
Karukinka Park in southern Patagonia is home to one of the last quality populations of guanacos that exist in Chile, and its conservation is fundamental for the survival of this species. WCS works to maintain and improve these populations in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.
FUEGIAN CULPEO FOX
The Fuegian culpeo fox is an endemic subspecies that inhabits forests and coasts in the southernmost islands of Chile. It is the largest Chilean canidae and crossed to Tierra del Fuego about 10 thousand years ago, when the island was still connected to the continent.
Its population has been reduced by the intervention of poachers and the presence of introduced species. This is why it is considered a vulnerable species by the Chilean Ministry of the Environment and it is well noted that, should it disappear, its natural recovery would be very difficult.
Karukinka Park protects the largest extensions of the Fuegian culpeo fox habitat in the world. It is essential to restore and maintain healthy populations of the species and help understand its role in the functioning of the ecosystems of the island of Tierra del Fuego.
Peat bogs are the most extensive wetlands that exist on the planet. They have an enormous capacity to absorb CO2, even greater than that of forests, which is why they play a key role in mitigating climate change.
Karukinka Park protects more than 30,000 hectares of peat bogs, the largest that exist in the entire Province of Tierra del Fuego, which today are protected by a decree established by the Chilean Ministry of Mining that declared them non-exploitable, given their gigantic scientific value.
However, their greatest environmental threat is the beaver invasion and their construction of dams that have been altering the water courses and landscapes, affecting the entire ecosystem. WCS works to recover the ecological water values and the carbon balance of Fuegian peat bogs.
Karukinka Park protects almost 130,000 hectares of primary forests containing up to 300-year-old lenga trees (Nothofagus pumilio), Magellanic coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyii), ñirre (Nothofagus antartica), canelo, michay (Berberis darwinii), calafate, diverse flowers, lichens, fungi and serves as habitat to a large part of the Fuegian fauna. These pristine forests are the most extensive and of highest density that exist in the world at this latitude.
These forests are threatened by forest fires caused – in most cases – by human negligence, and by beavers, which impact 98% of the rivers of Tierra del Fuego, altering more than 30,000 hectares of this native forest.
WCS Chile works on the restoration of the structure and dynamics of degraded mature forests, to help ensure that their ecological processes can function and thus provide key ecosystem services such as CO2 uptake, soil formation, among others.
Karukinka Park contributes to the protection of key hydrological basins of Tierra del Fuego: the Rio Grande, the Cóndor River, the Sánchez River, the Azopardo River, the Paralelo River, among others. The water that drains in these basins sustains forests, wetlands, meadows, and feeds all the biodiversity contained in these Fuegian ecosystems.
However, the hydrology of Tierra del Fuego has undergone major changes with the advance of the beaver, which builds dams on water courses, flooding vast areas, drowning vegetation, stagnating as well as polluting waters.
Our goal is to restore the biodiversity associated with the water courses that flow in Karukinka Park and to recover its pristine character.
WHAT IS WCS?
WCS is an international scientific organization with almost 125 years of experience in conserving the most valuable wildlife and ecosystems on the planet. In Chile, WCS works for the conservation of biodiversity since the 70s and protects Karukinka Park since 2004.
Daniela Droguett, Magallanes Regional Director WCS Chile
“We are all part of this house and each person, with their own skills and knowledge, has a role in its conservation”
Dr. Bárbara Saavedra, Director WCS Chile
“When in Karukinka, like in almost no other place in Chile, you can turn your head in 360 degrees and experience nature in all its majesty: continuous and radiant forests, colorful flowers and mushrooms, hundreds of condors fluttering in the sky, while listening the joyful neigh of guanacos”.
Melissa Carmody, Coordinator of Karukinka Park
“I am proud and challenged to be the one who coordinates this magnificent long term conservation project. Although it implies hard work, it brings the satisfaction of knowing we are working to improve the future and quality of life of people.”
Mauricio Chacón, Karukinka Chief Ranger
“We are focusing on conservation, which is important for the future. We are taking care of the forests, peat bogs, its wildlife; we are its guardians “
Natalia Aranda, volunteer at Karukinka Park
“We were able to marvel at nature, its landscapes, the postcards given to us by its four climates in the same day; its flora, its fauna and its funga; meet, live and have fun with the other volunteers and park rangers”