After 10 years of fighting we have finally managed to broker a peace between the local conservation association protecting the 40,000 ha Gran Simacache conservation concession and a group of land invaders who entered the are at the same time the area was being declared.
This process has been at times very difficult and even dangerous, involving threats against ourselves and the local conservationists, many fruitless attempts to force the environmental authorities and prosecutors to act against the invaders, and a halt to most protection activities in large parts of the reserve due to safety issues.
In 2017 we changed our approach, looking to work together with the invaders as allies in protection of the area in exchange for an end to all legal process against them. After many false starts and the turmoil caused by the pandemic, at 4:00 pm yesterday afternoon, Franklin Panduro, the president of the local conservation association and, Lorenzo Vela, the president of the invaders group, accompanied by about 60 villagers and association members, and witnessed by representatives of the regional environmental authorities and NPC, finally signed an agreement which puts an end to the conflict!
The agreement includes the ceding of a portion of the area for the invaders to use for their family farms, and the offer of work as park guards on patrols or participation in reforestation and other social development projects.
In exchange, there will be an immediate and permanent cessation of hunting and deforesting in the entire reserve as well as unhindered access to the area by the conservation association. We are very grateful to all those who have helped and supported us in this fight, and we are now looking forward to continuing to protect this amazing area and all the species that call it home.