Success in Patagonia

January 4, 2022

More exciting news, writes David Macdonald, who has recently heard from WildCRU alumna Dr. Laura Fasola, known as Lali. Lali was part of the WildCRU team during her PhD studies of the interactions between endangered Southern River otter and the invasive American mink in Argentinean Patagonia (2005-2008). Thereafter she remained as WidCRU’s expert in Patagonia until, in 2011, she founded The Programa Patagonia to protect Patagonia’s biodiversity, especially the critically endangered Hooded Grebe.

Lali  now coordinates a team of 27 research scientists and the conservation actions of the Program, aiming to protect Patagonia’s native species. She writes “the  headquarters of Programa Patagonia is the Juan Mazar Barnett biological station, located on the southern slopes of Buenos Aires Lake Plateau in Santa Cruz Province. The program also has 3 satellite biological stations to assist field work in austral Patagonia and venues in the cities of Bariloche, Puerto Madryn and Buenos Aires.

Key species to this program are: the Hooded Grebe, the Southern River Otter, the Torrent Duck, Guanacos, Wolffsohn’s Viscachas, Magellanic Plovers, amongst others.

Key conservation actions of the program: habitat restauration (mainly by managing the impact of invasive species as American mink, rainbow trout and kelp gulls), ex situ breeding activities (hooded grebe and more recently migratory geese), colony guardian camps, promoting the creation of protected areas.

Environmental education and outreach activities are also key activities of the Program, to promote a sense of belonging and value for nature amongst the local community. Key for this is the volunteering program, which hosts circa 30 volunteers per year.

The Program has now launched an On Field Conservation Management Course, for early career conservationists, so they count with the tools to replicate Programa Patagonia’s strategies in different social and geographical scenarios.

The Program works in association with many local, national and international organizations and institutions to ensure the long term sustainability of its activities and impact of its actions”.

Congratulations to Lali Fasola and her team on all they are achieving.

  • ©Tamara zalewski
  • © Gonzalo Pardo