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&Beyond Supports Lewis Pugh On Russian Tour For Formation Of World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

March 25, 2015 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

Known for its strong conservation credentials, luxury experiential company &Beyond has extended its core ethos of Care of the Land to the oceans by sponsoring ocean advocate and pioneering swimmer Lewis Pugh in his Great Antarctic Ice Challenge.

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Having completed a series of record-breaking swims in the freezing Antarctic Ocean, Pugh is currently on tour in Russia as part of an initiative to help save the Ross Sea from irreversible damage.

Reinforcing their ongoing marine conservation initiatives, &Beyond was a proud official sponsor of Lewis’ Great Antarctic Ice Challenge, which was designed to focus the world’s attention on the conservation of the Ross Sea and turn it into the largest protected area in the world on land or sea. A deep bay situated in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, the Ross Sea is one of the world’s most pristine marine ecosystems and is home to many species found nowhere else on earth. Inhabited by extraordinary species that include the Antarctic toothfish, the colossal squid and the emperor penguin, the area’s dense ice has also preserved records of the earth’s evolution.

With the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Antarctica governed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Pugh’s initiative is designed to focus the world’s attention on the conservation of this beautiful area. The proposed Ross Sea MPA would cover an area of 1.35 million km² (more than half a million square miles) and is set to become the biggest protected area in the world, on land or on sea. As one of the biggest stakeholders in Antarctica, Russia’s support is crucial to ensure the creation of the MPA.

unnamed (14)The gruelling and physically demanding Great Antarctic Ocean Ice Challenge saw Pugh officially complete the southernmost long-distance swim in human history, wearing no protective gear against the icy water. With these five ground-breaking swims under his belt, Pugh headed to Moscow to share his urgent message about the need to protect Antarctica’s Ross Sea and gain Russia’s support. Over the past few days, he has met with policymakers about turning the Ross Sea into a marine protected area, doing interviews with Russian media (the first foreigner to be interviewed live in Russia in over a year), giving motivational talks, as well as exhibiting photos from his expedition at a public gallery outside the Kremlin.

“I want to thank &Beyond very much for backing me and for enabling me to tell a story about a unique wilderness area that I feel passionate about,” says Pugh. “I remain hopeful that I will be able to get Russian support for creating the biggest protected area in the world.”

With two of &Beyond’s lodges situated in marine conservation areas, the company’s support of this ground-breaking initiative is just the latest of its efforts to preserve the integrity of the world’s oceans.

“We believe that protecting the world’s ocean is crucial and we are very proud to have played a part in facilitating Lewis Pugh’s extraordinary efforts,” comments &Beyond CEO Joss Kent.

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