More advances in our campaign to change the new Forestry and Wildlife Law
The 28th of February was the last day to hand in comments about the regulations for the new Forestry and Wildlife Law, a law which we believe has the potential of putting Peruvian wildlife in great danger. We were very busy in the last few weeks promoting involvement of people concerned for wildlife in the participative process of designing the regulations. We gave talks in the NGO APECO, the US governmental organization USAID-Peru and at the Ronda Campesina regional congress in Amazonas. We spoke on the national TV station Panamericana as well as on the radio and interviews in local newspapers. We also took part in a two day participative meeting organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, which is in charge of making the regulations. In all these opportunities we called for transparency in the participative process and environmental responsibility from the government. We also handed in more of our own comments about the proposal as well as suggested new articles that can benefit the conservation of threatened species.
It is important to understand that although this law, which was enacted in 2011, and the proposal for its regulations, which are now being elaborated, are not fundamentally different from the laws in force, they could increase threats to wildlife. This law was a requirement of the US government to update Peruvian policies as part of the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. It liberalizes and simplifies trade of species and trophy hunting as well as forestry plantations, such as palm oil. For example, it allows trophy hunting and commercial breeding of threatened species, as well as the introduction of exotic animals for hunting, for the first time in Peru. It also complicates the bureaucratic process involving the wildlife authorities as well as the creation of private conservation reserves, processes which are anyway extremely complicated and inefficient. The wildlife authorities in Peru are extremely inefficient and are worsening. There is also a severe lack of studies on the actual conservation status of many Peruvian species, but according to the IUCN, Peru has 318 threatened species, of which 39 are Critically Endangered. In these circumstances the new law with its further liberalization of wildlife exploitation and land use changes could be disastrous to many species.
The legal loopholes and lack of precautions are the result of very strong pressure from interest groups such as hunters, wildlife breeders, loggers, etc. Our campaign aims to make sure that these pressures will be evened out to protect biodiversity, facilitate conservation initiatives and promote social equality. Therefore, we were very happy to see many organizations and private individuals responding to the campaign and making the effort to revise the new regulations and comment on its threats to biodiversity. Although the time to hand in comments is over we will keep a close eye on the way the comments are taken into account, and will keep pressuring the government for responsibility and transparency.
New reserve “El Triunfo”
Today, the 28th of February, we handed in the paperwork for another community protected area. This new area “El Triunfo” (Triumph in English) is in the heart of the San Martin region and will protect over 3,300 ha of primary forest for the Critically Endangered San Martin titi monkey (Callicebus oenanthe), a species which is also considered one of the 25 most endangered primate species in the world! This area is also home to a large population of howler monkeys and tamarins, as well as many other wonderful species of plants and animals.
If the application is successful the area will be managed by a group of local coffee farmers from the area “Asociacion Campesina de Caficultores Alianza Ambiental”. The group began protecting the area informally a few years ago and asked us for help in getting the area formally recognized. Now that the initial application has been started we can begin the social and biological inventories of the area, where we are sure to find many more primates and their friends!
Launch of New Community Tourism Website
Advances in our Campaign against the New Forestry and Wildlife Law
Our press release and observations of the new law and its implementing regulations are accepted with much interest in many private and governmental organizations in Peru.
We have been interviewed in two TV shows in San Martin and in RPP, a national TV station calling people to get involved in the elaboration of this law through formal inputs and public protests. The vegan organization ‘la Revolucion de la Cuchara’ invited us to give a talk to animal right and environmental activists. Through this talk we have met a group of people which made a petition against trophy hunting as proposed in this law. We are now working with them on preparation of a new Facebook page, a letter to the relevant ministers and a protest march in the 23rd of February in Lima.
We also met with the dean of the Peruvian School of Biologists, and the lawyers NGO Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA), to present our observations as an example which they are going to use to elaborate theirs. The School of Biologists and the School of Veterinarians are now planning a press conference for the 24th of February, which will include the participation of a few interested congressmen. We are taking part in organizing and will participate in this event.
We met with the ministerial office in charge of the process of elaboration of this law, explained our objections and learned more about the process itself to be able to influence it towards transparency and true participation in the most effective way.
NPC newsletter No. 26
Click here to download our latest newsletter, Volume 26 for January 2014.