Workshop in Peru

Yesterday NPC participated in a workshop with the Peruvian Forestry Service, the San Martin Regional Government and representatives of many local conservation areas. The Forestry Service is looking to improve the Peruvian governments response to the needs of local reserve administrators and is carrying out a series of workshops, this is the second that we have participated in, to hear recommendations from the different actors. We look forward to seeing the positive results on-the-ground!

Anti-trafficking Workshops

For the last few weeks, we’ve been busy running a series of workshops designed to help prosecutors, environmental police and other wildlife authorities and forestry officials identify and intervene in instances of illegal wildlife trade.  Such workshops are a run regularly, and each time we focus on a different theme.  For example, last time we focused on the veterinary care of rescued animals.

This time around, we’re honoured to be joined by US Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Roger Turnell.  Based at the US embassy in Lima, Roger works all over Latin America and has over 20 years enforcement experience. Last week, we brought Roger to Belen market in Iquitos and sadly, but not surprisingly, there were thousands of animal carcasses for sale; primarily deer and caimans, but others, too.  Monkey meat was being sold very cheaply.

Workshops have already been held in Iquitos, and are due to begin in Chachapoyas and Tarapoto over the coming few weeks. In addition to Roger’s presentation, NPC’s own Sam Shanee, Nestor Allgas and Catalina Ocampo Carvajal spoke about our anti trafficking social media campaign, the environmental implications of wildlife trafficking, and the fundamental importance of wildlife to the region.

Unfortunately, extremely high turnover is very common for enforcement-related staff in this region. For example, although we’ve held workshops in Iquitos on numerous occasions, only one attendee this time had been in post long enough to have attended a previous workshop. Taken together with a lack of training and, at times, a lack of will to carry out this important work, it’s incredibly important that we carry on with these sessions. We want to extend our sincere thanks to Lush for funding this series of workshops, and to the authorities of Iquitos, Tarapoto and Chachapoyas for taking part.

This was part of a project developed in partnership with the Colombian Primatológica Association and financed by USFWS International Affairs.

Conservation in the Community

A few days ago we were in Santa Cecilia, Risaralda, in an active dialogue with the community. Community members from associations, educators and people interested in working in Santa Cecilia attended.

We have been working together to identify the ways in which they relate to the forest, as well as the major environmental problems in the area. It was nice to learn a little more about this community and although the day was intense, we left recharged from the meeting and motivated to continue working together to conserve life in all its forms.

One of the conclusions drawn from the finished map was: “The forest is everything. We must take care of it.”

This was part of a project developed in partnership with the Colombian Primatológica Association and financed by USFWS International Affairs.

Locating important features on the map started with searching for homes and important areas for local activities.

Continuing to Fight Against Animal Trafficking in Peru

On our recent trip to Pucallpa we again saw first-hand the levels of animal trafficking that still occur all over the Amazon. We continue in our efforts against this cruel trade and are beginning another campaign with the Peruvian wildlife authorities later this month.

New Publication

As a result of a meeting held by UNESCO Mexico attended by NPC Peru’s Nestor Allgas, our latest NPC publication called: “Community conservation as a tool for primate conservation in Peru” is out now.  It is published in the new UNESCO book: “Primatology, Biocultural Diversity and Sustainable Development in Tropical Forests”.

The book will be freely available for download soon and we will post the link when it becomes available.

Yellow-Tailed Woolly Monkey Conservation

Since 2007 Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) has been using the critically endangered Yellow-Tailed Woolly 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.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Schafer.

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.

We 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.