The Gran Simacache conservation association just returned from 2 weeks mapping the limits of the reserve together with villagers from nuevo Esperanza.
Although the trip was not free from trouble, this marks the first activity since the signing of an agreement between the two parties to try and bring an end to the conflict which has beset this area since its creation.
Last Saturday we finished the first of our public reforestation days in Pabloyacu, near Moyobamba, Peru.
This was organized together with the Ecology faculty of the San Martin national University and local student group Jurcuna. In total 30 people came to our team with planting activities, all of whom also received training in planting and how best to ensure survival of the trees, especially important in sandy and hilly areas like Pabloyacu.
The main activity consisted of re-planting trees where previously planted saplings had not survived the dry season, and then planting in new areas which had been damaged by fires in previous years. We are very satisfied with how the day went, and will be carrying out a second day of planting with public help next Saturday, the 2nd of October. We hope to see you there!!
Yesterday we received a call for the Regional Environmental Authorities in Moyobamba, asking our help in rescuing a tamarin (Leontocebus sp.), which appeared to have been abandoned and tied to an avocado tree in the city.
Together with officials from the regional authority, our team caught and untied the animal, transporting it to the nearby offices of the authorities. The animal is now receiving its veterinary evaluations, while we try and find a suitable rescue centre for re-homing. We hope that this sad tale will at least serve as a reminder to everyone that wild animals are not pets!
Last Saturday our volunteers alerted us to a large headed capuchin monkey (Sapajus macrocephalus) on the roof of a house in Moyobamba. The monkey was possibly a pet that had escaped from a nearby house.
We informed the Regional Environmental Authorities, who immediately seized the animal. The same day, the authorities also received a squirrel monkey (Saimiri sp.) which was handed in voluntarily by the person who found it.
For now, both monkeys are being kept by ARA until an appropriate rescue centre is able to receive them. We have been helping feed and care for both animals as well as taking them for their veterinary checks.
Luckily both monkeys are in good health, although they are very attached to people. We are very grateful to the team of ARA – Moyobamba for her quick and decisive action in this case.
We’ve had some great camera trap photos lately, this time from Pabloyacu, Moyobamba. This is the site where we are starting reforestation work with the Universidad Nacional de San Martín.
The camera traps are part of our effort to get baseline information on species diversity and abundance in the area, for comparisons with future monitoring to see what impact reforestation has on local wildlife.
The star of the show for us this time is the Tamandua (ant eater)! It’s also really great to see peccaries, these species show that although the area is very near to the city and heavily impacted, hunting pressure is low.
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.
Yesterday we helped the ARA San Martin with a rescued baby Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles chamek). This animal was kept as a pet and confiscated in northern San Martin, far outside of its distribution. We were asked by the authorities to help with the transport and medical tests before being sent to a rescue centre in Loreto, in it’s natural distribution. Sadly this is this is not an isolated case and even during the pandemic we are finding animals illegally trafficked around Peru.
Last week we visited the community of La Esperanza and the forests where we carry out the bulk of our research. This was the first time we have been able to visit since the national lock down began in March. We were very happy to see that no new deforestation has occurred in the area.
Today we were involved in the rescue of two endangered white bellied spider monkeys and a scarlet macaw from a tourist bar in the city of Yurimaguas. Thanks to the professionalism of the authorities involved (The environmental public prosecutor, the regional government of Loreto and the police) the operation went very smoothly and now the animals are on their way to a rescue centre where they will recover and eventually be released back to the wild.
Environmental education is vital to ensure a strong future for the forests and their inhabitants. Volunteers Erick and Monica continued our education work this week with school children in Moyobamba, Peru.