This campaign was started in April 2014 with three main aims:denunciafauna

1. Confiscate animals and make sure traffickers receive proper penalties.

2. Identify authorities’ deficiencies in acting against trafficking.

3. Draw public attention to the fight against wildlife trafficking in Peru.


Our official general complaint, compiled from the increasing amount of information that NPC receives about captive wildlife from concerned members of the public and fellow animal welfare organizations, has been handed in to government authorities detailing cases from all over Peru. This has been the objective of one of our anti-trafficking campaigns; to provide the authorities with the necessary information to act on these cases whilst also highlighting the serious situation of wild animal trafficking in Peru.

Since April 2014 we handled 175 formal complaints from all over Peru, reporting on thousands of wild animals kept illegally in captivity. All of these cases share several common denominators: they are held in terrible conditions where the animals experience extensive suffering and the owners have no legal permits. The complaints include animals kept by tourist centers, markets, roadside merchants and private homes. Many of the species included are considered threatened and protected by Peruvian law.

We also reported irregularities in official permits given for wildlife exploitation and alleged cases of corruption within the authorities. Seventy five percent of all cases included at least one threatened species. We are currently in the process of gathering information from the authorities about the results of the cases we reported. This is very complicated and time consuming because of the bureaucratic requirements of the authorities.

Unfortunately, as a result of scarce funding, a lack of qualified personnel and few rescue centers, wildlife authorities often turn a blind eye. They often blame the Peruvian public for their lack of understanding of animal welfare laws as a justification for ignoring the consequences of the illegal trade. This leaves the traffickers to freely benefit from the lack of action by the State. We know that not all the cases we presented to the government were attended to. In other cases the authorities were too slow to act and failed to rescue the animals, but we do know that so far 961 animals have been rescued as a result of this campaign and hundreds of skins, animal parts and bushmeat have also been seized. The more complex cases involving irregularities within the authorities are also under investigation.

Anti-trafficking operations and prosecutions are very important, not only to rescue the animals but also to educate the population and send a clear message to the wildlife traffickers that they will be punished for their actions. It is necessary that interventions take place at all stages of trafficking; during capture, transport and sale, when animals are kept as pets or attractions and including the sale of bushmeat or as keepsakes.

We hope that this campaign results in the rescue of the animals identified and in the prosecution of the traffickers themselves. Also, that this campaign strengthens the resolve of the wildlife authorities, enabling them to put the scarce funds they do have to good use. We also hope that it will highlight the severe lack of rescue centers. We are grateful to all our anonymous informants who provide the information about trafficked wildlife and to the great people in Peru’s wildlife authorities who have made a real effort to attend these reports.


Category: Projects

In 2012, together with the grassroots organization, the Ronda Campesina, we developed a new conservation model: Ronda Conservation Areas. The Ronda Campesina is a network of autonomous civil organizations aimed at self-protection. They practice vigilance and civil justice in the rural Peruvian countryside where state control is insufficient. It is the largest and most influential grassroots movement in North Eastern Peru. The Ronda of Amazonas and San Martín regions have demonstrated extraordinary environmental responsibility, confronting environmental issues that are mostly ignored by the Peruvian government such as wildlife and land trafficking.

Ronda members and NPC's biologists in a field trip to HociconThese reserves, called Areas Ronderils de Conservacion Ambiental or ARCAs, have a double impact. Most importantly they allow fast and effective conservation from local initiatives. In our work we found that people living in or near forests demonstrate high environmental consciousness and a capacity to administer protection in rural areas that state agencies cannot match. Secondly, these reserves focus attention on state conservation systems that necessitate high economic investment and lengthy bureaucratic processes, excluding local people and missing many opportunities for conservation by a population that does not have the means or academic expertise to follow traditional conservation routes. To Read a recent article in Mongabay that gives a broad view of this initiative Click here.

Although most of the Ronda members are not indigenous, the Ronda movement is considered nationally and internationally as an indigenous organization and enjoys the same legal rights as indigenous communities. This gives them the international rights of Self-Determination, Autonomy and Self-Governance and the right to Territory. Article 29 of The UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples states ‘Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination’. The same law that recognizes the Ronda Campesina also asserts that one of the functions of the organization is 'to contribute to the preservation of their natural environment', meaning that the Ronda has the legal right to declare rural areas as protected areas.

Hocicón, The Monkeys’ Jungle, Quscarumi and Marona are some of the ARCAs already established with our help.There are already hundreds of ARCAs throughout Peru that are the autonomous initiatives of many different Ronda bases, ranging from tens to thousands of hectares each. Our mission is to geo-reference as many of these reserves as possible and help them establish a firm legal status. We are working to create a national map of ARCAs. This map will be used to report back to the Ronda about their success and to promote this project locally, nationally and internationally as an example for a new, promising form of community conservation. Mapping the ARCAs is much more time consuming and complicated than we previously thought, and therefore only a small fraction of these reserves manage to get registered with us. However, the beauty of these reserves is their autonomy and we are satisfied to know that so many areas are being protected as a result of our efforts, with or without our direct involvement with each one of them. 

The Monkeys' Jungle ARCA

Category: Projects

Volunteering at NPC

We have two programs for people that are interested in comming to Peru to help the project, volunteer expaditions and project assistants:

Volunteer Expedition

The following background information covers our project and the research we will be carrying out starting July 2012. The accompanying application pack contains more information that you will need to participate in the project. We look forward to hearing from you!

What is the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey Conservation project?

This project, started in 2007, takes place in an area which was identified during preliminary surveys highlighting the presence of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey in relatively high numbers in this area. It is located between the Cordillera de Colan Nature Sanctuary and the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, thus forming a natural cloudforest corridor between these two reserves. The project combines the creation of a community-run reserve with scientific census work within the proposed reserve; a reforestation program using native tree species that are beneficial to humans and wildlife; environmental education; and the development of markets for native agricultural products and handicrafts made in the area. Please read about what the project has achieved in the Newsletters available on this website!

To help the project grow and achieve even more, we are now recruiting teams of volunteers whose support will ensure we can collect data more effectively, help maintain the tree nurseries and spread our conservation message to other communities. The volunteer programme will also bring employment and financial benefits to the villagers of La Esperanza.

Why do we need you?

We need volunteers to help collect vital research data for conservation. The yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, and vital information is needed on its geographic distribution, abundance and biology. We need as much data as we can get on this largely unknown monkey, and we couldn't collect it all without the involvement of volunteers. The data are used to assess the yellow-tailed woolly monkey's population status, to monitor the state of it's habitat, report on problems and document the effectiveness of our conservation efforts. We need fit and enthusiastic individuals to join our team and help us collect these vital data.

As well as field research, the project supports a reforestation project in La Esperanza and in surrounding villages. Volunteers will help carry out vital maintenance tasks in community-operated tree nurseries to ensure this successful initiative continues to function and to grow.

Finally, we at the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey project believe that conservation efforts must involve local communities at all levels. We need enthusiastic volunteers to bring the conservation message to the children of La Esperanza, through teaching and outreach activities in schools.

We offer challenging six-week-long programs of field research and other conservation activities, together with visits to the Gocta waterfall, third highest in the world and situated at the heart of the cloud forest, and to the ruins of the Chachapoyas citadel of Kuelap. We provide you with training in field methods, a window into a career as a conservation biologist and, hopefully, an unforgettable experience!

Does it cost?

In return for a donation of at least £900, NPC will cover the costs of your accommodation, food, your visits to the waterfall and to Kuelap, and your local travels for the 6-week expedition with the Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey Conservation project. Your donation provides much needed funds which allow NPC to run all aspects of its work as well as pay the wages of the local guides who will help you in your work and any specialised equipment you will need.

What now?

If you think you've got what it takes to work in the Peruvian cloud forest and would like to offer your help to our project, please apply to our next expedition!

The application pack can be requested by email from  nina.poletti - at -

Please note that places on the expeditions are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you book your place with us, the greater your chance is to take part in these exciting expeditions.

Please take the time to read the Frequently Asked Questions; they will contain answers to many of your queries. You can see photos of past experiances here. Should you have more questions or should you wish to talk to our volunteer coordinators, please email Nina at  nina.poletti - at -

Project assistants

To be an assistant you must have a good level of Spanish, stay in the project for a minimum of two months (3 months or longer is preferred) and have proven experiance in one of the project's parts (biology, education, sustainable development or reforestation). You will become part of the staff, or do your own research under our supervision. To apply for an assistant possition, please contact us.

Category: Projects

Capuchin monkey confiscated by the national authorities, the Ronda Campesina and NPC


The battle against illegal wildlife trafficking has become one of our main activities. Wildlife trafficking is one of the major causes of species loss. Wild animals are routinely hunted for meat, skins, as trophies, or for the pet trade. Throughout South and Central America there are large areas of forest almost empty of wildlife due to overhunting. Large-bodied primates, such as woolly monkeys and spider monkeys, are often the first species to disappear as there large size and conspicuous nature makes them particularly attractive to hunters.

As one of our main priorities, and as part of NPC´s holistic approach to conservation, we target the illegal trade in wildlife. To this end, we work closely with regional and national wildlife authorities, police, public prosecutors and grassroots organizations in Peru. We also commit a lot of time and resources to educating local communities about the pressures faced by wildlife from hunting, the dangers of keeping wild animals as pets, and the illegalities of trafficking wildlife.  Above all, our work with communities focuses on the benefits of maintaining healthy forests, which is dependent on the presence of wildlife.

The work against wildlife trafficking can be repetitive and frustrating; and it is dangerous. The lucrative nature of the trade and presence of corruption at all levels within the authorities makes our work seem, at times, like an endless task. However, we have seen many improvements. Our actions were instrumental in the closing of the notorious Bellavista wildlife market in Pucallpa, and we have achieved a sharp reduction in the wildlife trade in Yurimaguas and in many other centres that have for years traded in wildlife and/or used wildlife as tourist attractions.

Female spider monkey right after confiscation. © Noga ShaneeOver the past nine years we have organized and participated in the confiscation, rescue, transport to rescue centres and/or release of more than 3,900 wild animals. Animals arriving at our project after being in the trade suffer from a variety of physical and emotional problems related to the terrible conditions they were subjected to. We provide veterinary and general care to hundreds of animals a year. Some stay with us for a few months until they are strong enough to be transported to a rescue centre.  We try to send each individual to the most suitable centre possible to ensure that their future is as promising as can be.

Generally, we believe that animal welfare and conservation need to be treated together and are not mutually exclusive. By working for the rescue and long-term care of trafficked species we aim to minimize the effects of the illegal trade on endangered species, and by conserving forests we hope to provide a safe haven for animals where their capture and related suffering is prevented.

If you are travelling or thinking about it then please read the how to help section of this website which contains information on what you can to help stop wildlife trafficking and the potential impact your actions can have while abroad.


A confiscated Andean bear. © Noga Shanee



Category: Projects

Yellow tailed woolly monkey conservation


Oreonax flavicauda. © Kevin Schafer

Since 2007 Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) has been using the Critically Endangered yellow tailedwoolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) as a “flagship species”  for conservation in the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot of North-Eastern Peru.

We aim to create community-run reserves that will protect major areas of the natural biological corridors connecting existing protected areas.  This will ensure long-term habitat protection for L. flavicauda and other sympatric species.

The yellow tailed woolly monkey is listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered and, since the year 2000, has featured repeatedly on the list of the world’s top 25 most endangered primates. It is endemic to a small area of cloud forest in the Tropical Andes region of Peru. This area is known to be the most biodiverse region on earth. 

The area faces immense pressures from mining concessions, commercial logging and land clearance for cattle ranching and coffee cultivation, and its forests are disappearing rapidly. NPC has published findings from a GIS survey of yellow tailed woolly monkey habitat in Peru, revealing alarming rates of deforestation and loss. It is estimated that at least 50% of the yellow tailed woolly monkey’s original habitat is already lost, and the remaining forest is under enormous threat.

Through scientific investigation, this project provides baseline information on the conservation status of L. flavicauda and other threatened species. Specific investigation work includes general animal and plant censuses and studies on the basic behavioural ecology, vocal communication and habitat requirements of L. Flavicauda, as well as studies on other threatened sympatric species, such as the endemic and little-known Andean night monkey (Aotus miconax). Our scientific achievements to date include the discovery of new populations of Lagothrix flavicauda; the first long-term behavioural study of L. flavicauda; and the first long-term density estimate for L. flavicauda. We have also conducted much needed studies on Aotus miconax and Callicebus oenanthe, and continue with further research for the conservation ecology of all three species. A second density estimate of primate populations, carried out in order to assess the impact of our conservation work, revealed an increase of ~30% in L. flavicauda density at our main research site. All of  these studies can be accessed via the publications page.

An infant yellow tailed woolly monkey. @ Noga ShaneeWe work with people from local communities who are interested in helping to create a network of community-run reserves for the conservation of the yellow-tailed wooly monkey and other species. To enable them to carry out effective conservation work,  we work with them to create sustainable, eco-friendly income alternatives. Growing poverty and disastrous local climate changes have given many local people a first-hand appreciation of the urgent need to adjust to a more sustainable way of life, and are therefore more than willing to cooperate in any conservation effort.

The yellow tailed woolly monkey project combines the creation of community-run reserves with scientific census work within the proposed reserves, a reforestation program using native tree species that are beneficial to humans and wildlife, environmental education and the development of markets for native agriculture products, handicrafts made in the area, and sustainable ecotourism.



Category: Projects
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