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Grand Tierra del Fuego Island


Conservation benefit:Protection of 64 acres of habitat of rare Magellanic plover and other wildlife

Date Approved: 02.2024


This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.

Cold, windswept Tierra del Fuego is known for its stunning beauty and abundant wildlife. On land, there are foxes, guanacos, and even lizards; offshore, there are abundant whales, seals, and sea lions. But it’s the birds that are most visible, plentiful, and best known. The region boasts everything from tiny hummingbirds to enormous Andean condors—and of course, penguins.

This project protects two brackish lagoons that are important habitat of the rare Magellanic plover, a chunky little wading bird endemic to the region. In 2023, the IUCN estimated the entire population of the species at about 330 individuals. All of them are found only at the southern tip of South America.

The two lagoons, in the Patagonian steppe near the town of Porvenir, are breeding, feeding, and resting areas for the Magellanic plover. But of course, they also provide habitat for many other species, including flocks of the Magellan goose and endangered ruddy-headed goose. They are breeding grounds for the two-banded plover, Chilean flamingo, Coscoroba swan, tricolored seaside cinclodes, and white-rumped sandpiper.

The region attracts many tourists eager to see the birds and other wildlife. Most of them come during the southern spring and summer, when birds are nesting. But because there are no structures that provide places for birders to observe the birds, many visitors end up tramping around the lagoons carelessly, disturbing nesting birds and damaging their habitat.

To conserve this important habitat, our project partner will:

  • Build observation platforms, so people can observe wildlife without disturbing plants or animals
  • Build fences to restrict access to sensitive bird habitat
  • Reach out to local people in Porvenir, underscoring why these measures are necessary to protect the lagoons and wildlife
  • Put up signage with information on good tourist practices and identifying off-limits areas
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