Sustainable products promote coexistence between native wildlife and fiber production
NEUQUEN, Argentina (August 2, 2017)—The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) and the Wildlife Conservation Society Argentina (WCS) are pleased to announce the Wildlife Friendly™ certification of high quality mohair, merino wool, and cashmere, in recognition of the efforts of a cooperative of criancero herders to co-exist with the region’s native wildlife.
Following years of work to improve land management practices and fiber quality, and support from WCS, 12 herders of the Neuquén, Argentina-based Programa Mohair are now offering both raw fiber and spun yarn for sale, under the Fibras del Viento (Fibers of the Wind) label. Fibers are available in natural colors and dyes, including green from Yerba mate, the national beverage of Argentina. Fine yarn and finished goods are spun and handcrafted at a small mill operated by cooperative members.
“The commitment of these herders participating in the Programa Mohair shows that it is possible to improve land use practices and combine increased product value with real conservation results. This is a high impact social and wildlife achievement that we hope will inspire other livestock producers in Patagonia,” said Guillermo Harris, WCS Argentina Director.
The actions of the livestock herders to coexist with native wildlife are important to the conservation of the unique fauna of Patagonia, including the highly endangered Andean cat, the puma, native culpeo and chilla foxes, the Andean condor, and a large flightless bird called the rhea. The herders rely upon human presence, noise-makers, lights, and criollo dogs to protect their livestock from predators. Although their family farms are small, and they often struggle to maintain their livelihood, the herders are committed to sustainable production for the good of their land, livestock, and native wildlife.
“We are watching a Wildlife Friendly™ fiber movement unfold right now across Patagonia” said Julie Stein, Executive Director and Co-founder of WFEN. “Part of our mission is to create communities of practice that share innovations, challenges and successes across landscapes. These Programa Mohair herders and a growing number of ranching neighbors are at the leading edge of that effort. Designers, consumers and companies are taking note of their compelling stories of coexistence. Each step forward by these producers has been the result of hard work, and is thrilling to witness. We congratulate these heroes of conservation for their actions.”
Consumers wishing to purchase these responsibly produced fibers can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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