Peru backs massive Amazon protected area
The Protected Areas Service pledged to allocate USD 280,000 for surveillance activities in the massive area – encompassing a region larger than El Salvador – formed by the Alto Purus National Park and the Purus Communal Reserve. The protected area was officially created in 2004 in part through the support of WWF.
The area spreads across some of the most pristine forests in the southwestern Amazon and shelters jaguars, pink dolphins, arapaimas and other endangered species. It is also home to at least eight ethnic groups, including an unknown number of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation.
For years, activities such as illegal logging – mainly for mahogany – and poaching damaged these unique forests and disturbed the indigenous communities.
“This represents a major success for all Peruvians regarding the government’s commitment to the conservation of the Peruvian Amazon and will aid to build long term conservation strategies for roughly 3 million hectares of some of the richest forests in the world,” said Biologist Jorge Herrera, Director of WWF´s Amazon Headwaters Initiative (AHI) who has been working in the area for more than five years.
“The recently announced government support will not only help sustain a team of more than 20 park guards, and the heads of the reserve and park, but will also promote capacity building strategies,” said Herrera. “This will enable WWF to focus on other complementary actions and ensure that from now on, Purus is safer than ever before.”
Since 2004, WWF Peru – with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation -has supported control and surveillance activities carried out by the park and reserve authorities, equipping and helping them implement seven strategic control posts and form an efficient park guard team, made up of experienced technicians and local indigenous peoples with broad knowledge of the rivers and forests which they now protect.