May 19th 2022
Film, photography and story from Patagonia, for the guardian. Chile´s endangered huemul
It’s always nice to get an open brief. This story came with a ¨go see what you can find.¨
An opportunity arose to travel down from Santiago again, to see the work of Rewilding Chile (formerly Tompkins Conservation) in the northern Patagonian region of Aysén. The endangered South Andean deer, known in Chile as the huemul, had just been included in an academic paper listing it as one of 20 large mammal species whose rewilding across its original habitat would restore the greatest number of ecosystems on Earth.
Chileans have a long distance relationship with this animal that made a cameo appearance on its coat of arms when the republic was established. Yet just as quick as the nation is waking up to the socio-environmental importance of the creature that´s stared back from every tax return filed since 1818 – human encroachment into its habitat is slowly killing it off.
This March I went down to Patagonia on the night bus to see what I could find. You can read the story here, see my photos and watch the film I shot, edited and translated for the Guardian Environment as part of the Age of Extinction series.