We’re proud to announce that Community Conservation will be working on a new project in Peru with Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC), an extremely effective organization that’s been working with communities in South America for 15 years.
Together we hope to expand their existing 11-community conservation network in the beautiful and biodiverse Andean foothills by working with four additional communities.
Our goal is to raise at least $10,000 by the end of October so that we can begin work with the first two communities. Ultimately we will need $20,000 to work with all four villages. An anonymous donor surprised us this week with a $5,000 gift so we’re more than half way there!
To make this project happen, please donate here.
Establishing the Conservation Network
Our organizations have worked together for many years. Our founder, primatologist Rob Horwich, helped NPC expand their successful community-based conservation project from one village into a whole network of community-managed reserves, starting back in 2009.
That partnership led directly to the creation of 10 more community-run protected areas, as well as aiding many other communities in the management of other reserves. One of the primary activities was helping these communities get governmental recognition to create protected areas to connect landscapes.
In addition, fieldwork has mapped the area’s species so that conservation planners can better understand the needs of primates, their habitat, and other species. Educational programs are running with adult villagers, children at local schools, and young adults at area universities. Reforestation programs aim to restore habitat, and also provide local people with sustainable sources of forest materials, and increase connectivity between forest patches. And NPC has also led efforts to stem the negative effects of the illegal wildlife trade in the area.
The original project activities focused on the protection of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey have expanded, because of their successful outcomes, and now also use the San Martin Titi monkey and the Peruvian night monkey as flagship species.
The 11 participating communities are now integrated in a strong network of community-run reserves, managed by the local farmers. NPC has been helping these communities protect their primate habitat for over 14 years now.
Just before the pandemic hit, NPC had just completed some initial surveys of areas near the villages which are already participating in the conservation work. There’s a lot of good habitat there for the area’s endangered primates as well as new villages which could join the conservation network.
Our goal: expand the existing conservation network to cover a larger geographical area and protect more habitat.
Because this work has been so impactful with the original communities, there is a good opportunity here to spread that impact. We’ve seen this happen in our project locations before. Our founder Dr. Rob Horwich called it “conservation contagion.” When a village hears about their neighbor village’s conservation work and sees its benefits, they’re likely to get excited about implementing a similar project in their own village.
We plan to work with and support NPC now, during the planning stage, so that when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted we’ll be ready to reach out to those communities. Plans for the next 12 months include the incorporation of a new conservation concession into our network, and the creation of one new community protected area. They are also actively seeking more communities to join their efforts.
Biodiversity of the area
The communities are located in the Andean foothills in Northern Peru. The Tropical Andes are a biodiversity hotspot, called the “global epicentre of biodiversity” by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. Within this area is the Marañon-Huallaga landscape, a region of endemism somewhat isolated by the Marañon and Huallaga Rivers.
Three threatened primate species are only found here: the Critically Endangered yellow tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) and San Martin titi monkey (Plecturocebus oenanthe), and the Endangered Peruvian night monkey (Aotus miconax). These primates serve as flagship species to call public attention to conservation within their ranges, and to focus efforts. Also, as these species do not live in isolation, and need healthy habitats and ecosystems to thrive, protecting these three species also gives protection to countless others, and safeguards resources for communities into the future.
High human population densities make large national parks impossible in most of the area, so community-based conservation provides the perfect alternative. By creating many community managed reserves, they can conserve large swaths of habitat and maintain connectivity between populations.
Make Conservation Happen
Community Conservation has had a long and fruitful partnership with Neotropical Primate Conservation so far. We are excited to work together to expand primate habitat in Peru.
Any amount helps as we attempt to raise $10,000 by the end of October. Donate here to help communities in Peru protect prime primate habitat.