Short and successful campaign
Buena noticia, Ayer en la noche nos hemos enterado que la Administración Técnica Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre de Cajamarca está invitando a la gente de Cajamarca a registrar los animales silvestres que ellos mantengan como mascotas. Esta iniciativa nos pareció muy extraña, porque es contradictorio a las leyes Peruanas y a las políticas del Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre (SERFOR). Obviamente que estamos completamente contra la legitimización de la tenencia fauna silvestre conociendo los muy graves efectos de este tráfico a las poblaciones silvestres y al bienestar de los animales mantenidos en cautiverio, y así es que hemos sacado una pequeña y rápida campaña en las redes sociales y contactamos al SERFOR para entender lo que esta pasando y para pronunciar esta iniciativa. Estuvimos muy felices al ver que muchas otras ONGs de conservación y derecho de animales se nos unieron en esta campaña. Comunicando con SERFOR nos hemos enterado que ésta acción fue una iniciativa propia de la ATFFS de Cajamarca y no fue coordinado previamente con SERFOR, que como nosotros estaban en contra de ella. Felicitamos y agradecemos a Jessica Galvez y Mirbel Epiquien de SERFOR por su rápida y correcta acción en comunicar con la ATFFS de Cajamarca a primera hora del día de hoy y exigir la cancelación de esta dañina iniciativa.
An official complaint about the Colombian company "On Vacation"
This week we made an official complaint to the Environmental Public Prosecutor’s office about the Colombian tourism company "On Vacation" who are trafficking Peruvian animals to Colombia. The company has two hotels, one in Puerto Alegria, Peru and another in Leticia, Colombia; both hotels have captive wild animals including many protected and endangered species such as manatees, woolly monkeys and matamata turtles. It is estimated that in the Colombian side there are over a hundred animals. According to interviews with workers all have been illegally exported from Peru to Colombia. The company is also carrying tourists (200-500 people a day) to an Association for Women in Puerto Alegria where tourists take pictures with wild animals extracted from the forest for the sole purpose of attracting tourists. Many children are exploited in this business which is also against Peruvian law.
Other violations found in our research are that the hotel on the Peruvian side of the border is built entirely of illegally harvested wood, and that the waste of these 200-500 tourists a day, which consists mostly of non-degradable materials, are dumped directly into the river daily. We hope that the authorities take this complaint seriously and act with all seriousness and to the full extant of the law to stop these activities which are so damaging to the environment and to Peruvian wildlife. We would like to thank the informants for their important and thorough research that will hopefully bring justice to these animals.
NPC Newsletter Vol. 30
Click here to download our latest newsletter volume 30 for January 2015.
End of Year Report 2014
We are pleased to present NPC's annual report, which highlights our most important achievements of 2014. From important studies on the ecology of Peru's endemic primate species, to the continued success and expansion of our Community Based Conservation Network, to an intensified focus on battling the illegal trafficking of Peru's amazing and often threatened fauna, it has been a very busy year! We hope you will enjoy learning more about it.
Press Release - Peruvian Protected Species Sold for Torture in Asia
Hundreds of thousands of baby yellow-spotted river turtles, born and caught in the Pacaya Saimiria National Reserve, are being exported to Asia to supply the ‘exotic food’ and 'souvenirs' market. The animals, barely a few days old, are destined to be eaten or imprisoned within key chains as tacky fashion accessories until they eventually die, and all this with the permission of the Peruvian environmental authorities.
The key chains, made of transparent plastic and averaging 7-10 cm diameter, are half-filled with colored water. The turtles are encapsulated within the plastic and left with a small amount of food in the water, and this is where each animal is destined to see the end of its days, imprisoned and starving in torturous conditions, dangled on the end of a set of keys, until its slow death a few weeks later, when the owner will dump it in the trash and most likely go out and buy a new key ring. Clearly, this type of product serves no necessary purpose and caters to nothing other than a capricious desire to possess a keepsake, and a cruel one at that. This immoral use of wild animals was exposed several months ago by animal rights activists and conservationists and has provoked an international outcry, however the link to Peru as the provider of this unfortunate species has only recently been exposed.
The yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) is an endangered species protected under Peruvian national legislation and the CITES convention. The Peruvian project whereby artificial beaches are created for the turtles, is a source of national pride and is showcased as an example of sustainable community management of natural resources, establishing an annual quota for the use of the 294,000 live young. However as yet no real study of how the exploitation of these threatened turtles affects the populations of the species has been carried out, nor have the effects of the project been assessed on a local socio-economic level, to see to what extent the people involved are actually benefitting. Previous research suggests, however, that most of the profits only make it as far as lining the pockets of middlemen and do not reach the communities who are actually investing the effort and money in participating in the program, reaping little of the final reward.
One known fact is that the Peruvian government has authorized exportation of the turtles originating from the community-managed Pacaya Samiria reserve to the company Tropical Fish Farm Aquarium SRL and Aquatrade, the former being known for previous offenses in the trafficking of wild animals. These companies, which export principally to Asia, are said to have been exporting larger quantities than the amounts declared on their permits, as was detected recently by Lufthansa, the airline employed to transport them. This occurs because the amounts and possibly the species, are not being adequately regulated, therefore leaving an open door for higher numbers of animals as well as non-permitted species to embark.
Around 290,000 turtles of only a few days old, obtained principally from the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve were legally exported in 2014. Obviously these figures do not take into account mortality rates after leaving their origin, during inspection and technical controls and during transport. Nor do they take into account that many of the baby turtles bred or captured for sale fail to enter legal shipments for export, much less the amounts that are destined for the national market. There is evidence that people continue to catch and sell the turtles illegally, possibly using approved documentation for laundering purposes, enabling them to surpass the permissible quotas for these species and thus greatly exceeding the numbers of animals being recorded by the government as part of this "successful” community management project. There is no evidence that this project is sustainable from either an environmental or social viewpoint.
We therefore demand that the national and regional environmental authorities of Loreto immediately retract all permits for trading and exporting these turtles until in-depth investigations are carried out on the feasibility, sustainability and legality of the project. For more information write to:
Dr. Noga Shanee, Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC)