126. Sofia Heinonen: Rewilding Argentina and beyond

Photo Credit: Heather Kim-Tompkins Conservation

Host Sue Stockdale talks to Sofia Heinonen, a dedicated biologist and Executive Director of Rewilding Argentina. Sofia shares her journey from a young girl fascinated by the natural world to leading significant conservation efforts in Argentina and beyond. Sophia’s early experiences with biodiversity and bird watching sparked a lifelong passion for conservation. She discusses her initial work in national parks and how her encounter with conservationists Doug and Kris Tompkins profoundly influenced her perspective, shifting her focus from merely protecting land to actively restoring and rewilding ecosystems.

A significant part of the discussion centres on the Iberá Wetlands, where Sofia and her team have successfully reintroduced the jaguar, an apex predator, fundamentally altering the region’s ecological balance for the better. She details the complex challenges they faced, from legal battles to changing local economies and mindsets towards conservation and sustainable practices. Sofia also touches on the devastating impact of wildfires in 2022, exacerbated by drought and traditional cattle ranching practices, highlighting the ongoing struggles and the resilience of both the land and the people. Looking to the future, Sofia expresses her vision of expanding their successful model beyond Argentina to rewild significant portions of South America, emphasising the importance of international cooperation and community engagement.

About Sofia Heinonen

Sofía Heinonen was born and raised in Buenos Aires where she trained as a biologist. An activist by nature, she has spent more than thirty years designing large-scale and long-term projects to create protected areas and restore natural ecosystems. Sofía was part of Fundación Vida Silvestre and the National Parks Administration before joining the Iberá Project in 2005, led by Doug and Kris Tompkins (CLT Argentina), which Rewilding Argentina would later continue. She is currently the Executive Director where she leads four projects that cover more than one million hectares and a team of more than 200 people. In 2022, the BBC recognised her as one of the 100 most influential women on the planet.

Find out more about Rewilding Argentina at website | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

Animal with young cubs on waters edge

Credit: Sebastian Navajas – Rewilding Argentina

Time Stamps

02:34 – Rewilding Argentina’s Mission
04:01 – Achievements in Iberá Wetland
06:30 – Economic and Legal Challenges
08:28 – Personal Challenges and Growth
10:25 – The Impact of Rewilding on Iberá
14:37 – Cultural and Mindset Changes
18:15 – Vision for Expanding Conservation Efforts
22:08 – Leadership and Inspiration
28:17 – The Importance of Perspective
34:27 – Passing the Baton

Key Quotes

  • “We work for nature and to restore nature, but nature is basically the way we restore ourselves. In a way, it’s like rewilding our own spirit.”
  • “Doug Tompkins said it will take time, but eventually we will win because the law is on our side, and in 20 years nobody will remember the conflicts.”
  • “It was like a big war in the sense of changing of land use and changing of paradigm and change the economy.”
  • “Changing culture is really the big issue with climate change.”
  • “We need to change the context that get the jaguars to become extinct. And that is economy, the culture and the way we perceive the territory.”
  • “We are facing now this big challenge of trying to reconnect South America through the rivers. And that is our vision for the next 20 years.”
  • “I’m 100% passionate about what I do. It’s not work, it’s life.”
  • “I think to be more conscious that we can make a change is a good thing”.

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Sofia Heinonen – Transcription

Sue: Welcome to the podcast, Sofia.

Sofia:  Hello Sue, I am very excited about this podcast.

Sue : I understand you’re a biologist and executive director at Rewilding Argentina. What got you interested in biology and conservation as a young girl in Argentina?

Sofia: Well, I was born in the country and always on horse ride, living with domestic animals, basically in ranches. But when I was 16, I was introduced to an NGO, a local NGO, and I started bird watching. And I think that opened my mind and started seeing biodiversity. And since then, I am always worried about the threats and how this biodiversity starts to disappear in places where I was born and in the surroundings of my cities. So that’s why I think I started thinking about biology, but not because I was really a big scientist, but I was worried about the world. And then at that time, that was a career.

Sue: So biology was the route to help you.

Sofia: More an activist sense of urgency that took me to study biology, but then I became much more of a conservation person. Not studying, but trying to save them.

Sue: So it sounds like that you like making things happen, that activism within you. And you’ve certainly been making things happen within Rewilding Argentina. What does that involve?

Rewilding Argentina’s Mission

Sofia: Well, I started working in national parks first in South America. That was the way of protection because the only way you can stop threats, it was protecting big territories through laws. passing bills in the Congress and protecting big territories. But in 2000, mostly, I find out that a couple of Americans, Doug and Chris Tompkins, came to Argentina, and they were trying to donate lands to the National Park Service. They did. They donated to Monteleon National Park. So I get engaged with them, and they started saying that we need to bring back the extinct, the species that were gone. And for me, that was like a complete change of vision. It was not only about protecting the territory, but to restore. And in South America, that was completely new. Although in South Africa, they were moving rhinos, and in North America, they were bringing back species that were gone in some states. In South America, it was a new paradigm. So that’s how Rewilding Argentina came and was born. Our mission is basically to save species that are in danger. And we do it through protection, but also we do it through restoration. And rewilding is the way we call it. Basically is trying to bring back an ecosystem and that ecosystem is complete and functional. Functional that means that there are enough numbers and individuals and populations that they really make a difference in the ecosystem.

Sue: And I understand that in the Ibera National Park, is that correct?

Sofia: That big wetland in the northeast of Argentina. It’s like a continuum of that kind of ecosystem.

Sue: So in the Iberá wetland, I understand you’ve brought back the apex predator species. You have jaguar.

Achievements in Iberá Wetland

Sofia: Yes, that was our main, I think, challenge and our main goal that we achieved. And we are so proud of that. When I started working with Doug, that was in 2004, he said, you have to bring back the jaguar, the top apex and all the species that were gone, and you have to protect the place so they cannot go extinct again. And that means stop the threats. The threat is all about economy. It’s all about communities and their needs. So to do that, we need to understand what are the main jobs, what are the main production in the place, and try to change them so they can be regenerative. So the economy is the one who pushes this coming back of the species that have gone. So we started thinking, basically Ibera was a cattle ranch production of cows. That was basically the main thing.

So we said, we will start to change and we will make a tourist destination. And we know that there are at least five municipalities with almost 200,000 people living around. We need to give them opportunities with this new vision. And that’s how we started. We started thinking about access, public access to the place. In Argentina, it’s all fence, so people cannot get into the wetlands unless you give them access. So we started thinking which will be the access and how we will work with the communities, with the mayor, how we will promote the places with a new brand. Because nobody knew at that time, Iberá was just a name. Just in their minds, but nobody knew where it was. So we needed to work with all the economy and then we can restore. That was basically took us 10 years to make a change in the economy and engage the new people.

Sue: And what has been the most difficult part of your job?

Deer in wetlands

Credit: Matias Rebak

Economic and Legal Challenges

Sofia: Well, when we started, there was not only cattle ranches, but then it came some companies that they were willing to plant rice because they see the water as a main opportunity there. So they started thinking, wait, we can channelize the whole area, the whole wetlands, and started planting as a commodity. We can plant rice. put them there for five years while the prices in Brazil are good. And we took the rice and then we move away. So one of the biggest challenge for us was to, there was a very good laws about not changing the wetlands and the drainage of the water. There were very good laws about not doing, channelizing the water, but they didn’t care about the law. And they started planting rice all over the place. And that was a big battle that we have to give before changing the economy and before bringing back the Jaguar. And that took us also like a lot of conflicts with the government, basically, because they didn’t want to fiscalize the law. They didn’t want to put in practice what the law says. So we have to go and make legal issues against the government and against the companies that were coming and renting the ranches and changing the use of the land. So that really was a huge learning because we have huge conflicts and there were a big opposition also from the politicians. So without political support, we could not make anything. We were fighting against the political support. So we have to win that battle, but then we have to restore all those relationships to go together with government. That is something that you need if you want to bring back species.

Sue: So given that there was conflict in this context and challenges, Sofia, for many people, when there’s conflict, when there’s difficulty, when there’s challenge, it can be overwhelming. It can be too difficult.

Personal Challenges and Growth

Sofia: It was overwhelming. I was 35 years old at that time. I have experience working in government because I came from National Park Service before. I have experience working with local governments because I’ve been working in Missiones, another province before. but never have this huge conflict. We make like 10 legal suits against different ranches that govern. So it was because Doug Tompkins that came from United States, he told me, I believe in the law. I believe in legal action. In Argentina, legal action is one of these countries that you can be 10 years or 15 years in judges and nothing will happen. So nobody did it before. So it was completely new, these kind of tools to confront with threats. So it was really, really a big deal. And basically having an elder activist, like it was Doug Tompkins, he said it will take time, but eventually we will win because the law is on our side and in 20 years nobody will remember the conflicts and we will be in a completely different way. You have to just continue with the fight and the actions, the results will speak for us. So it doesn’t matter what they say. You have to continue. Don’t worry about the journalists. Don’t worry about all the actions. You have to be focused on the results. And that was basically what I learned is that it could be very hard, but if you have persistence, you will change the perspective of the culture.

Sue: And now when you go to Ibera, for example, and you talked about results there, Sofia, what gives you satisfaction for the listener who’s never been to Ibera? Describe to us what you see and experience that is making it all worthwhile.

The Impact of Rewilding on Iberá

Sofia: When we started, we flew, we have a tiny plane, so we flew over more than one million hectares from one place to the other, very low flights, and there was no wildlife. It was just landscape. It was basically water and islands and little forests and big grasslands, but nothing was there. So it was like scenery without actors. And now you can fly all over Iberá and you will just see herds of different animals and you can see the jaguars through the plane and you can see a lot of birds everywhere. So the wildlife really respond to this change of use. And also you can see that there is a lot of activist actions and there is a lot of proposals to do trips in the wetlands. And basically what you feel from the people is that they are very proud. Because this is not a change that one person can do it. We do it as a community. But as it was so hard and it was so conflict, at the end, it became much more strong, the change. It was like a big war in the sense of changing of land use and changing of paradigm and change the economy. It’s like being through a war. And the people who were fighting for this, they feel that they really have now a paradise. So the sense of pride and the identity of the people is very strong now. I think we cannot move backwards because it will be another war. So really now 20 years later, I think we are all, we think this is a model and we show it with a lot of proud and we know that there is really a good chances to become a big inspiration for other states, other nations, because they all come to see what we could achieve.

Sue: It sounds absolutely amazing, the transformation of the wetland area in that time.

Sofia: It was a huge change.

Sue: And whilst you’ve been talking about these challenges, I also know that in 2022, another challenge hit Ibera in terms of wildfires. How did that affect the situation?

Sofia: Well, yes, it was a catastrophe in the sense of the dimensions, because we were in a very dry year from a long period, three years of dry seasons in a wetland. That means there’s a lot of biomass, a lot of that is accumulate for years and years because it’s a wetland with a heat. So, and all that started to dry. And as I said, it was, it’s a cattle culture. And usually the cattle can be herd there because they use fire. You know, cattle need green grasses. They cannot eat the herd, the old grasses, so they put fire. So they continued doing as always, they just started fire and that fire never stopped. And that was dramatic. The good thing about Iberá is it has been evolved with fire for the last thousands of years, so they can recover very quickly once it starts raining. So one year later, you cannot really see the damage of the fire. The damage was basically in our minds because we started to perceive that there is a big change in climate and this could be a bit difficult in very dry years and people need to change their culture related to fire. They cannot start fire just to feed their cattle when they want it.

Sue: It seems like changing people’s mindsets is core to what you do.

Sofia: It’s the most important thing and it’s the most difficult thing because it takes a lot of time. This culture has been raised for years and years and that is the context. Changing culture is really the big issue with climate change, I think.

Sue: You said that the work that you and your team are doing is a model that other countries are coming to see. What would be your blueprint? You’ve talked about engaging the local community. You’ve talked about it taking time and expecting challenge and difficulty. Are there any other things that would be within your model that would be critical to success?

parrot on a tree

Cultural and Mindset Changes

Sofia: Well, the first thing is protection. We need the law there to protect the territories. And that is like, we did it as usual as National Park does and did it in South America for the last 100 years. But we added this change of economy. So bring new economy to avoid extinction. And once you have a new economy, you can bring back the species very quickly and have a complete and functional ecosystem. But you still need to work with community to achieve their well-being. It’s not only about their pockets and their money. You also need them to be conscious of their culture and the needs adapting to the climate and also thinking about education is one of the main challenges. If you bring new economies, you will bring also changes in language because you will need English. Basically in South America, we all speak Spanish and we all need to learn English. And that is a big challenge for the people in the rural areas because mainly you are opening the place to be shown to tourism and other people. And they need to also develop their skills to communicate in a very specific technical English or technical also in Latin, because in Argentina we call the birds in Latin.

So there’s a new thing and they had to be a very good host. usually don’t they were living like isolated and now they have to be host of different people coming from different places that also gave them pride because they think they’re very important if they they’re coming from everywhere in in the world so all that well-being related to the people so they wanted to stay especially women and young people that they were not part of their culture, that the young people stay at their houses. They were all migrating to other places in the country because for needs of jobs. And also, women were usually not part of the economy in their families. That is one of the main things that we do, is we give a lot of citations for women and youngs, and we gave a lot of opportunity for them. So that’s part of the model.

Sue: So it’s a much more detailed. process to engage people and to look at it very holistically. It’s not just about the wildlife on the ground and introducing the species at all.

Sofia: No, that’s the easy part. When we have the good context, just bringing jaguars is so easy. But we need to change the context that get the jaguars became extinct. And that is economy and that is culture. And that is the way we perceive the territory. So We need to change the whole thing.

Sue: The Access to Inspiration podcast is a free to listen to podcast, but it’s not free to make, but we think it’s worth it. So if you’re enjoying this episode, then why not buy me a coffee? Just click on the link you’ll find on the website against this episode. And then I can enjoy that coffee when I’m working on future episodes to bring you more inspiration. Now back to our guest. So when you look back now and reflect on that young girl in the environment where you lived, could you ever imagine that this is what you’d be doing all these years later?

Sofia: I was thinking only about birdwatching at the very beginning. And I thought about me that I didn’t have any skills for communication and public relationship and politicians and and legal issues. And I needed to learn all about that. And you know, in biology, you don’t learn about that kind of skills. So we started giving also courses for social skills for biologists, because that was the transformation that we need to do. We need to start to study all the social aspects that we didn’t have in university and also to bring teams because in Iberá we are almost a hundred people now and we are working with all kind of aspects and that means that we have to have leaders and with a long vision in mind.

Sue: It just is such a transformation that you and your team have achieved. And also a transformation, I think, for you from what you believed was possible as a young girl to what you’ve accomplished now as a leader in engaging and communicating with people all over the world.

Vision for Expanding Conservation Efforts

Sofia: And we see that this kind of tiny transformation we did in a very specific place in the northeast of Argentina is what we needed in a big scale. We know that scale is our main urgent problem. We have a little model, and that is what we try to do, is inspire with this tiny model. But we know that we have an urgency to achieve the whole basin, the Paraguay basin. That is the second basin after the Amazon in South America. And we see that all these water flowing along the Andes and from Pantanal in the centre of South America towards La Plata River and the sea. All these spaces should be restored. Because all the colonization in South America came through the rivers, up from Buenos Aires, basically, up through the Paraná River, up to Bolivia, up to Brazil, up to Paraguay. And that rivers were completely defaunated, because all the big boats came through there, and they were like war, and they started shooting from the boats, and they started killing not only the local people, but also all the wildlife with them. So all these basin, big, big rivers should be restored. And we are in the core of that basin. Iberá is in the centre. If you imagine a cross, between the Neuquen River, the Paraguay River, and the Iguazu, and coming back down to Buenos Aires, that cross, Ibera is in the middle. So we think now that this model should be like the stepping stone towards the upper basin, where we need to restore the whole ecosystem. So we are facing now this big challenge of trying to reconnect, in a way, South America through the rivers. And that is seeing and envision for the next 20 years.

Sue: Well, it’s interesting you say that, Sofia. We have a previous episode on the podcast where we interviewed Pierre Heistein, who’s been doing work in the Atuel River down in Mendoza to tell its story and inspire the local community there to re-engage with the river. So a lovely connection there that you’re saying about how to re-engage South America through its rivers. As I’m listening to you, I’m seeing that your vision and your belief has gone from, let’s say, small scale local to national and then international. Now, if you’re taking in other countries in South America, Is that what you’re working on? Are you engaging Bolivia and Paraguay and Brazil to rewild in their places or are you still focused on Argentina?

sunset on wetland area

Credit: Matias Rebak

Sofia: Well, as I said, Ibera became like a model and inspiration and we started receiving people and NGOs and government from Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, also Uruguay. Paraguay is another basin, is the Uruguay basin. But as they came and they started asking us to go and give some workshops there and try to see what they can do, similar to what we did, we started thinking about a net. We want to create a net with governments and NGOs, local NGOs in those countries, and try to work together towards an umbrella vision, like rewilding South America, something like that. So we started conversations about this need of working together because nations, as you know, are not really evolutionary limits between and rivers are all part of really the ecological region and territory. So we are really thinking about working towards an international vision, but always related to the rivers now, because that is our natural corridors. And we are launching these ideas, basically, this year.

Sue: it sounds like then you’re going to have to take on another 20-25 year vision to make something happen on an even more international scale.

Sofia: We will continue in Argentina, but given our experience in Argentina, we want that experience really to scale up because as a tiny girl, I feel the need of the urgency at that time because I see how species were gone in my own ranch and the surroundings. And now we see that the species are leaving the basin and the continent. So we need to think like in a continental scale, although we will do actions in a local scale, no? But if we can find many, many NGOs and governments working in a local scale, but in a net and towards a big effort, we know that we can change in 20 years the whole basin and we can reconnect with South America. So that is basically the vision.

Leadership and Inspiration

Sue: an amazing and inspiring vision that you have there, Sofia. Given all these people that you’re working with in your organisation, how, as a leader, do you inspire them to keep them motivated?

Sofia: One of the things, because I travel a lot, we have four projects. Two is in the north, in this basin I was mentioning, that is in Penetrable, in the Chaco forest, and Ibera in the wetlands. Eventually, we will go to the cloudy forest in the Andes, in Salta, in the border of Bolivia. And we will go to the Atlantic forest towards Brazil and the Iguazú area. And then we have the Patagonian projects on the sea and on the tiny basin, but also with rivers down in Santa Cruz province. And I travel a lot. So when you travel and you come from outside, basically fresh because you were deeply engaged in another environment, and then you can see Patagonia. It’s completely different from where I come. So every time I go there, I start seeing new things. Although I’m traveling since 20 years to those places, every time I reach there from another place, my vision has changed a little bit.

The Importance of Perspective

So that tiny change, when you get there and people are deeply worry about things, their conflicts and their tiny things that they’re like usually focus on the ground. When you come from outside, you can give them like a breath and take them to get their face up and try to see the horizon long term and try to think how things have changed from the past and looking forward and just leave them again. But that kind of time to breathe, and take their faces from the ground and seeing backwards and into the future every time since two or three months during the year. That gives them, I think, the idea that we have a very important work and we are really achieving changes. It’s not that daily you can see it daily, but if you look forward and backward, you can see that you have a meaningful work. And the most meaningful you feel your work is, the more strength you have to continue your goals and then push them forward.

Sue: So I love what you’re saying in terms of taking people’s faces up and showing them the past and the future. One of our previous guests was an astronaut and he said that when he saw earth from space it was like a newborn baby and he wanted to really look after it. And he didn’t see the lines between countries. He just saw this wonderful planet and wanted to preserve it. And I almost get a sense you’re saying a similar thing here is take people’s faces up from the day to day challenge and give them a new perspective that brings inspiration.

Sofia: And it happened to me when Doug and Kris came from Chile to our Argentina, they were always coming with new ideas, new perspective, long term planning. And for me, it was like reading again and starting again every time they came. So I basically continue with that work and jump from one place to the other. And I know that I’m the one who bring with a new ideas and inspiration. I cannot say many for so long, because too many inspiration is not good for the daily work. So, it’s just for a few days and move forward.

Sue: Yes, 24-7 of inspiration. We need some practical work as well.

Sofia: They have to continue working with their own challenges.

Sue: So given that you have so many things to focus on and the big vision for South America as a whole continent, how do you prioritise your time, Sofia?

Sofia: Well, since we became independent, we were part of a bigger team with the Tompkins in Chile and United States. In 2015, Doug died, passed away, and we became an independent organization and we have to finish the work they started in Argentina and started seeing our own vision towards the future. So with that changes, we grow a little bit in our structure. So we usually make all the decisions in the ground. So in each project, there’s two leaders, one looking towards the community and one looking towards the wildlife inside. So the restoration inside and the changes outside. So those two leaders in each project are our main, we need to support them. That’s why we jump. We are two leaders like me, one looking towards the context and one looking towards the restoration. And we travel and we give this advice to those leaders in the ground. And at the same time, we have to look towards fundraising. We have to travel to the places where people are more aware of the urgency of climate change and the urgency of biodiversity. So we have to basically travel to Europe and United States that are basically the continent that are mostly aware of the need of is one planet and we have to work everywhere and partner with them. So we have like more than 30 partners in Europe and United States and we always have, we engage with them. Once a year we go to work with them and once a year usually they come to the project. So I also work a lot with them with a strategic development towards the new projects and to continue deeply in the changes locally. So that takes a lot of time, my time. And so I basically travel inside the country for the local vision and to the north towards the partners so we can work all together.

Sue: I’m tired just listening to you talk about what you do, Sofia.

Sofia: Basically, a big aspect of my work also is working with politicians. I’m the one who is related to the government, to basically governors and president. Then we have the other relationships, they are local.

Sue: What do you think helps you to be effective. So if you’re engaging with the government, fundraisers, other organisations, partners, what is it about how you do what you do that you think makes you effective?

Sofia: Well, I’m not 100% passionate from what I do. It’s not work, it’s life. So I have two kids, I’m a mother also, and I can dedicate my life to this because my kids are doing well. They’re all grown up now. So I think that we do a really good job. So that is our main engine to continue. But at the same time, we are also facing this challenge to think about the next generation, because we’re working to scale up and see South America. We also need to know who will be the leaders of the next generation. So what we are doing now, basically, is trying to bring new leaders to the organization. And we also travel with them. So I always choose to travel with the new leaders and the local places, internationally, because this is not that you learn it in the university. We all learn by doing. So that is a very important thing. We try now to do things with a new generation. So it’s like the teachers in the past that they teach by doing with their officials. This is the same. We have a need to engage new people, young people to be same kind of work that is holistic. As you say, you need to have many skills and you have to go through many things that go wrong and you have to continue working. Although the conflicts are very difficult and can give you a lot of bad moments. You need to show that these happen and you can manage them and you will go through and you will really see backwards with proud of what you have achieved. So that is basically, we move forward because we know that we need to leave our next generation really prepared to continue with all these challenges.

Ibera wetlands - man on horse

Credit: Matias Rebak

Passing the Baton

Sue: So just as Doug was there to inspire you and show you the way and give you support when you started out, you were there to show the way to the younger generation.

Sofia: I think we need to pass the stick and we need to know that we are here for, I don’t know, perhaps a lot of battles, but we will not finish our work. This is a huge work of change, of change of culture, change of perception about the planet. And we have a really incredible thing, a lot of ecosystem to restore and also economy to be changed. So we need to prepare all these young people to be able to continue the change towards survival, basically.

Sue: So given this mission, this amount of work that you do, Do you ever get any downtime? And if so, how do you relax?

Sofia: Well, nature is a way we relax. Sometimes we always try to go for a camping or a long walk. And in my case, I love exploration. I’m an explorer, basically. So when I have time, I just go in a kayak or a boat or for a long trekking for two or three days and try to reconnect with nature. Sometimes we work for nature and to restore nature, but nature is basically the way we restore ourselves. So in a way, it’s like rewilding our own spirit. We need to re-engage with nature.

Sue: What a lovely way to put it. So finally, Sofia, for our listener who may be an individual or a leader of an organisation, they’re concerned about some of the issues we’ve been speaking about today, about climate change and conservation and so on. What would you suggest as an action, having listened to this podcast, what would be a tip that you would give them, something they could start to do?

Sofia: The first thing I will say is to come to the places where we are willing to restore. It could be in Argentina, it could be anywhere in the world, but there are some good examples of how we can restore it. Because if we face all these challenges and threats, and we have all these crises in front of us, we have to have a sense that we can make a change. So in places where we really have achieved some goals for restoration and recovering nature, you have to start from there. You have to go and see where things have been changing and can be changed, and then they can engage with the projects they think that they are really meaningful. Perhaps it’s near their houses, or perhaps it’s far away in another continent. The planet is one. You can choose near or very far away, and it will have the same impact in the whole thing. But I think to be more conscious that we can make a change is a good thing. We need to be in a way optimistic about that we can make something, an improvement. And then just do tiny things, actions, tiny. Just do bird watching and perhaps you will finish reconnecting a continent.

Sue:Well, it’s a lovely way to end our conversation, Sofia. You know, that idea about just start and being inspired by seeing something that’s already working and that you can take some small steps from there. I’ve loved what you’ve had to say. It’s really inspired me. And I can’t wait to come and visit Ibera later this year and see what it’s like for myself.

Sofia: Excellent. We will wait for you.

Sue:If our listener wants to find out more about Argentina and the work that you’re doing, how might they do that?

Sofia: We have a webpage that is rewildingargentina.org. We also have Instagram, we have YouTube channel and we are in all the medias, Facebook, TikTok, always rewilding Argentina is the name.

Sue: Lovely. Well, we’ll put links to that on the show notes and I’m sure people will want to find out more. I haven’t spoken to somebody yet on our podcast that’s had such a big vision to change the continent. I wish you well in that mission in the future, Sofia, and thank you so much for your time today. I’ve enjoyed our conversation. I wish you well, maybe we’ll even see you in November.

Sofia: Thank you very much.

Sound Editor: Matias de Ezcurra

Producer: Sue Stockdale