Late last week, law enforcement officials in Chile detained a man for allegedly stealing part of a glacier from inside Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, located in the Patagonia region. It is believed that the thief intended to sell the ice to various clubs in the capital city of Santiago, where it would be put into expensive designer drinks.
Police stopped the man, who was driving a large refrigerated truck, for a routine traffic violation, but were surprised to find that he had five tons of ice hidden in the back. Upon further examination, they discovered that the ice had come from the Jorge Montt Glacier, which is located not far from where the man was apprehended. So far, the driver has only been charged with theft, but officials are considering extending the charges to violating a national monument as well, since the ice came from inside a national park.
It is estimated that the five tons of ice would have sold for about $6300 had the man been able to deliver it to is buyers in Santiago. That doesn’t seem like a lot of money for harvesting so much ice.
Global climate change has played havoc on glaciers throughout Patagonia, and the Jorge Montt is no exception. Scientists say that is is currently retreating at a rate of about a half-mile per year, which is an alarmingly fast pace. The question now of course is how much of that is due to these nefarious ice thieves?