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An expedition to the Gran Simacache Conservation Concesssion

Investigation in Gran SimacacheWe are now elaborating management plans for all the reserves we have made. This involves visiting all the reserves and surrounding villages to decide what would be the best social and ecological strategies to conserve these areas. Our first field trip was to our biggest Conservation Concession El Gran Simacache. We visited the reserve from the East, a different side to our last visits, and although we heard and saw footprints of diverse wildlife, it was very hard to see these animals. This is due to the many hunters and land invaders who are still threatening the forests of this reserve, making wildlife very wary of people. Another problem is that 10,000 ha of this 50,000 ha conservation concession was mistakenly given by the regional government of San Martin both to us and to a logging company, EMARI; a company which is already working in the area in a very non-sustainable, destructive way.

The prospect of this company working in El Gran Simacache, bring more land invaders and hunters to the area hoping to enjoy a new road network and jobs, offered by the company. This logging operation would be devastating for the local fauna and flora we are set to protect. 

El Gran Simacache

Luckily, the ‘Association of Farmers for the Conservation of the Natural Forests of Simacache’ which is responsible for the conservation management of this reserve for the next 40 years, is committed to fight all these threats in every way available and we are committed to helping them!  

NPC Newsletter Vol. 24

Oreonax flavicauda. Photo: Andrew Walmsley/NPC

Click here to download our latest newsletter, Volume 24 for July 2013. 

First Federation of Community Conservationists

Dr. Horwich and Sam Shanee giving a talk to the new conservation fedarationOn Tuesday the 14th we organized the first of a serious of workshops to bring together local conservationists and conservation organizations. The Idea behind these workshops is to bring local actors into contact with each other to strengthen capacities and resolve to continue conserving Peru’s forests and animals. The workshop, organized by NPC and Dr. Robert Horwich of Community Conservation, the Regional Government of San Martin and AMPA, with the help of Proyecto Mono Tocon, was held in the City of Huicungo, home to Rio Abiseo National Park. Over 60 local conservationists from 7 associations were able to attend. Collectively these organizations and associations are protecting over 300,000 ha of some of the world’s most endangered habitats, many of these areas are home to the San Martin Titi Monkey (Callicebus oenanthe), one of the world’s 25 most endangered primate species. This is the first of several workshops we will be running in Amazonas and San Martin over the coming weeks. Hopefully each meeting will form the basis for the formation of local federations of conservation projects that will be able to coordinate and help support each other in the future. 

Group photo of the new federation. Photo: NPC

More Wildlife Rescued

Infant howler monkey rescued by wildlife authorities of San Martin. Photo: Noga ShaneeYesterday we participated in the rescue of three more animals in Sauce, San Martin. In our last visit to the place on the 18th of April we have found many animals kept in awful conditions and used as tourist attractions (Click here to read more). Yesterday it was clear that the villagers now understand better the legal complications related to keeping and using wildlife for profit and all animals we have found, were handed over to the authorities voluntarily. The woman who refused to turn in the infant howler monkey had changed her mind and the little monkey is now safe in IkamaPeru rescue centre. A juvenile capuchin and a boa constrictor were also rescued. We are very happy with the results of these two visits. The authorities in the area showed high enthusiasm in rescuing the animals and promised to make sure that illegal wildlife uses will not return. We will be coming back to the area very soon, first to give talks to the local authorities and public about wildlife traffic and its problems as well as to check out a few leads given to us by local people about other places where they know wildlife is kept illegally.

We would like to thank very much to the wildlife authorities of San Martin especially to Vladimir Paredes Palomino, to the public prosecutor of Sauce Jose Miranda Bautista and to the police of Sauce, all handled the situation very efficiently and professionally. 

Large population of long whiskered owlet found at La Esperanza, Amazonas

Long Whiskered owlet in La Esperanza. Photo: Alejandro Alarcón Pardo/NPCDuring the last few months Ornithologist Alejandro “Apu” Alarcón Pardo has been carrying out the first scientific study of the long whiskered owlet (Xenoglaux loweryi) at NPC’s cloud forest site of “La Esperanza” – Yambrasbamba, Amazonas. Alejandro is a volunteer at NPC and thesis student of San Marcos University. His study focuses on population densities and behaviour of the species. Preliminary results have confirmed a very high number of long whiskered owlets at our field site.

We hope the presence of this owlet and other birds such as Speckle-chested Piculet (Picumnus steindachneri), Rusty-tinged Antpitta (Grallaria przewalskii), Ochre-breasted Antpitta (Grallaricula flavirostris)  and the Johnsons toddy tyrant (Poecilotriccus luluae) will help bring tourism to the area; the benefits of which go directly to the people of La Esperanza who are protecting these species in their lands.


Another visit to Las Palmas

Vladimir Paredes Palomino of GORSAM inspecting a jaguar showing many stress related behaviours. Photo: Noga Shanee

Las Palmas in Tarapoto is a private establishment, which a few years ago received the permits to become a rescue centre by the government of Peru. However, in our two prior visits to the site, we had encountered many violations of the Peruvian laws relating to rescue centres. Violations that not only compromise the animals’ well being, but also put in danger humans working in and around the neighbouring site. Many of the cages are tiny, with only a metal mesh dividing them. In some cases monkeys, birds, and big cats are within reach of each other, creating extremely high stress levels to all.

In our last visit in December, with three vets from the Alas Peruanas University, we recommended that no more animals should be given to this centre and to remove the current animals to other rescue centres. Because we are aware of the severe shortage of space in Peruvian rescue centres we required a set of urgent improvements for the wellbeing and health of the animals before they are transferred. The Regional Government of San Martin (GORSAM) agreed with our report, making it a requirement for the centre. However, this week we were invited again to the site by GORSAM as they have heard that Las Palmas had solicited more rescued animals from the Regional Government of Loreto illegally and behind GORSAM’s back. The centre also informed us that many improvements were made to the wellbeing and health of the animals. This was not true! We have noticed that none of our requirements were met, many animals died or had disappeared since our last visit and the rest looked as skinny and sickly as before. Within the last month one capuchin monkey was killed and another was hurt by an ocelot cat who managed to make a small hole in the rusty mesh.

Together with GORSAM we have quickly produced a new report which not only prohibits the centre from receiving these new animals, but also augment the fines already placed on the them. Both GORSAM and NPC promised to make special efforts to find quick solutions for these animals.

The main problem is finding rescue centres to re-home the four capuchin monkeys as this is a species which is currently not accepted in any rescue centre in Peru. NPC is now running a campaign to collect donations which will be channelled directly into building enclosures to provide a safe haven for capuchin monkeys. Please help us give these monkeys a better life. 

A juvenile ocelot, a titi monkey, a squirrel monkey, a tamarin and two kinkajous in tiny, connected cages. Photo: Noga Shanee

Wildlife rescue in Sauce

Tourist with a young howler monkey. Don't take your photo with wildlife! Photo: Noga ShaneeNPC recently participated in the rescue of monkeys, snakes and other wildlife in the village of Dos de Mayo, Sauce, San Martin. The rescue was organized in response to repeated complaints from Peruvian tourists about the large amount of wildlife used as tourist attractions, photos opportunities and souvenirs.

Together with the wildlife authorities of San Martin’s Regional Government (GORSAM), NPC visited the village just before the rescue, disguised as tourists.  All of the animals, together with the people keeping them, were photographed.   

The animals were kept in appalling conditions.  Two boa constrictors, used as photo props, had their teeth pulled out and had duct tape around their mouths, becuse a few months ago another boa bit a visitor’s cheek off when placed on her neck for a photo.

Of all the animals, an infant old howler monkey was in the worst condition. He was held by an 8 years old girl and offered to tourists for photographs. The monkey screamed in fear every time he was pulled off away from the girl and given to a tourist or vice-versa. Howler monkeys are a protected species in Peru and are also very sensitive to captivity; therefore, although we believe that no wildlife should be kept in captivity, this monkey’s rescue was our priority.

When we returned the same day, with the GORSAM officers, the police, and the public prosecutors of Sauce, most of the animals and owners were already gone, but we easily encountered the owner of the howler monkey. She was asked to retrieve the monkey and the other animals she was keeping in her house (3 turtles, 2 tortoises, and a titi monkey). The woman refused, despite being ordered to do so by the public prosecutor, who had the authority to arrest and jail her not only for the abuse of protected species, but also for employment of minors (the 8 years old that worked with her monkey).  For 2.5 hours, the authorities patiently but firmly explained the situation to her; if she would 2 boa constrictors with their mouths taped. Don't take your photo with wildlife. Photo: Noga Shaneenot bring the animals voluntarily, she would be in big trouble, legal problems with grave economic costs and possible imprisonment. Her neighbours, the village authorities, joined the conversation and supported the authorities. The woman did not give up, and so the prosecutor will return to see her in a few days, this time with a search warrant.  Legal proceedings were begun against her, and if the animals are not found in her house on the next visit, her troubles will only increase.

As a result of the above, three people came to us and voluntarily handed over their animals: a tamarin monkey; a boa constrictor; and a parrot. These people will have no legal consequences for their illegal use of wildlife apart from warnings.     

The high amount of wildlife in this village is due to the recent increase of tourism in the Sauce lagoon. Unfortunately, most international and national tourists still do not understand the amount of damage they cause when they pay for activities such as photographs with wild animals. Please, when you see wildlife used as a tourist attraction, do not pay for it!  Explain to the animal owner the harm they are doing and denounce them to the authorities. 

NPC Newsletter Vol. 23

Common woolly monkey in Ikama Peru. Photo: Fiorella Andrea Briceño

Click here to download our latest newsletter, Volume 23 for April 2013.


Urgent!! New campaign to save capuchin monkeys

Urgent appeal for donations Capuchins monkeys are by far the most common species in the illegal pet trade in Peru. Every year we see dozens of these monkeys kept in horrific conditions. Unfortunately, there is no rescue centre in Peru that will take them in, hence either a blind eye is turned - people are allowed to violate the law and keep wild-caught monkeys as pets in really bad conditions - or the monkeys are confiscated by the government and destroyed. We are collecting donations which will be channelled directly into building enclosures that will provide a safe haven for capuchin monkeys.   

Please donate.

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