Payunia Reserve, the largest protected area in the Patagonian steppe and home to iconic wildlife such as the guanaco, the Andean cat, and Andean condor has now been further protected. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (Vida Silvestre), the associate organization to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Argentina, with funding from The Rainforest Site and, have negotiated the resignation of grazing rights from livestock producers for 43,570 acres in the Payunia Natural Protected Area of Mendoza, Argentina.

“By buying out the grazing rights from livestock producers we have reached an agreement with the Mendoza provincial government to incorporate these lands into the strictly protected core of the reserve,” said Carina Righi, Director of WCS Argentina. “Conservation of these nearly 43,570 acres is part of a long-term plan supported by and implemented by WCS and Vida Silvestre to conserve critical lands and wildlife species in Payunia.”

The reserve’s imposing landscape has one of the world’s highest concentrations of old volcanoes and is dominated by two volcanic mountains towering more than 3,500 meters above sea level. The core area will protect the breeding range of a large migratory population of guanacos, allowing them to avoid competition with livestock for food and water in this arid environment.

"The consolidation of the core area of ​​the Payunia, will be a substantial contribution to the conservation of emblematic and threatened species, and unique landscapes that shape the beauty and diversity of our country", said Manuel Jaramillo, General Director of Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina.

This land also protects habitat of the endangered Andean cat, only recently discovered in this region, providing a refuge from retaliatory killing by livestock producers for predation on young goats. In addition, this area is an important feeding ground for dozens of threatened Andean condors that roost in the surrounding mountains.

"When I visited the reserve area I was struck by the diversity and volume of animals, like an American Serengeti," Tim Kunin, CEO of which operates the The Rain Forest Site.

The 43,570 acres of conserved habitat were already within the boundaries of the reserve but were being used by livestock producers who received the right to continue using the area from the province before the creation of the protected area. Following the establishment of the reserve, the area was considered a sustainable management zone, which allowed livestock production.

“ and our partners at The Rainforest Site are proud to fund this important conservation effort,” said Liz Baker, CEO of “Thanks to WCS and Vida Silvestre, this important habitat has been secured for permanent protection—key to our mission to protect people, pets, and the planet.”

In July 2018, the Mendoza provincial government signed an agreement with WCS Argentina and Vida Silvestre, committing to assign this area—and others soon to be purchased—to a stricter management category (IUCN Category I), and to secure the long-term protection of the area.


About is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that works to improve the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet. Over the last 11 years, has given over $175 million in cash and in-kind grants to over 3,000 charitable partners worldwide. To learn more, visit or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

About Fundacion Vida Silvestre Argentina

Vida Silvestre is an Argentinean, Independent, non-profit organization, which was created in 1977. Our mission is to suggest solutions for nature conservation and the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources and responsible behavior in a climate change context. Since 1988, we have been associated to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), one of the world´s largest conservation organization, which works in 100 countries. To learn more:

About The Rainforest Site 
The Rainforest Site, a GreaterGood Handmade project and one of the GreaterGood “click-to-give” sites, was established in November 2000 to protect vital habitats and endangered flora and fauna.  Daily free clicking and shopping on The Rainforest Site has protected over 145,000 acres (58,000 hectares) of wilderness land in the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia to provide safe habitats for threatened animals like African elephant, monarch butterfly, Sonoran jaguar, red panda, and Andean cat.  We have made major investments to protect old-growth rainforests in the USA and Amazonian Peru; and have help fund wildlife reserves to protect endangered species in the Philippines, Guatemala, Columbia, and Nepal. Our largest investments in habitat protection are helping fund the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Kenya, and the new wholly-funded Payunia Reserve in Argentina.

The Rainforest Site’s charitable efforts are funded through free clicks, grassroots donations, and e-commerce sales of fair-trade eco-friendly goods sourced world-wide.  Visit for more information.

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