Amazing two weeks of fighting against wildlife trafficking in Pucallpa
Between the 19th and 31st of August, we assisted the planning and execution of 11 different operations to eradicate wildlife trafficking in Pucallpa, Ucayali.
These included road blocks, raids on three different markets selling live animals, bushmeat and witchcraft/handicrafts shops, private houses and restaurants, etc. 97 live animals 82 Kg. of bush meat and parts of hundreds of animals were seized.
These two weeks of concentrated interventions and the starting of legal processes against wildlife traffickers, together with an intensive campaign with the local media, has given a very strong message that wildlife crimes are tackled and punished.
The most encouraging news is that the Bellavista market, which until recently was the biggest active wildlife market in Peru, selling hundreds of animals a day, and more on weekends, is close to its end! Our undercover group had informed us that this weekend there were only 6 small parakeets for sale in this market, an extraordinary result for the effort to shut this market down. Also, as a result of our campaigning and the great work of the office of the environmental prosecutor, the municipality of Pucallpa has decided that the Market should be evicted from its current location. Bellavista will be formally relocated to a new market building, which will be monitored by municipal guards, making sure that no wild animals are sold in any form! The eviction should take place within a month.
Pucallpa is still the city which suffers from the highest levels of wildlife traffic in Peru, and there is still a lot of work to be done, but we are increasingly confident in the commitment and capacity of all the environmental authorities in Pucallpa to keep fighting to protect wildlife. As always, we give our special thank you to Particia Lucano Gomez of the 2nd Environmental Public Prosecutors office of Ucayali, who, with her exceptional energies, talent and commitment, made all of this amazing work possible.
To read more about the last two weeks activities:
Urgent - Wildlife Authorities of Amazonas encouraging wildlife traffic
On the 11th of August 2014 we made an official complaint to the Environmental Public Prosecutors office in Chachapoyas, about a night monkey and parrot kept in a nursery inside the city, both animals were being kept en terrible conditions and suffered from health and behavioural problems, the cord the monkey was tied with was just 40 cm long.
The required protocol is that the Environmental public Prosecutor confiscates the animals and then hands them over the Regional Environmental Authorities (ARA), so that they can hand the animals over, as quickly as possible, to the closest adequate rescue centre to improve the conditions for the animal depending on the species and its state of health.
For an un-known reason, the officials of the Regional Environmental Authority of Amazons, in this case decide to return the animals to their previous owners, without any explanation either technical or legal, and against the official recommendations of the Environmental Public Prosecutors office. When we offered to transport the animals, free of charge to an adequate rescue centre we were treated very rudely and told that as NPC is not Peruvian we have no right or understandable reason to be involved in this case.
We are very worried about the health of these animals and hope that the Regional Environmental Authority of Amazonas finds and adequate, and legal, solution as quickly as possible.
These are the contact details of the Amazonas regional Government and the regional Environmental Authority. Please write to them and explain that wild animals SHOULD NOT be pets. Also that their function as the Regional Environmental Authority is to stop wildlife trafficking and not ignore or encourage it.
New conservation area "El Quinillal"
We are very happy to announce the good news that the Asociación de Protección Ambiental del Bosque El Quinillal (APABOQUI) has handed in the technical proposal for the creation of the “El Quinillal” conservation concession. This area covers 10,696 ha of tropical dry forest in San Martin Department Peru. The area is home to many primates including: night monkeys (Aotus nigriceps), howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), tamarins (Saguinus fuscicollis), Capuchins (Cebus albifrons and Sapajus Macrocephalus), Sakis (Pithecia monachus) and titi monkeys (Callicebus discolor). The area is also possibly home to the San Martin tit monkey (Callicebus oenanthe) one of the 25 most threatened primate species in the world. NPC, together with Peruvian NGO AMPA, was able to help the association with biological inventories and coordination’s and we will continue our help for this conservation initiative.
The Regional Environmental Authority of Amazonas endangers regional wildlife
Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) regularly works with various Peruvian Authorities in the confiscation and rehoming of illegally kept wildlife found in markets, hotels and private homes. The working relationship is generally very positive; with each side carefully considering the next move in terms of what will be best for the animals involved. Unfortunately, in July, the Regional Environmental Authority (ARA) of Amazonas made the hasty and irresponsible decision to release hundreds of parakeets just hours after confiscation, regardless of the fact that the birds’ species and origin had not been confirmed, nor had health checks been performed, and in contravention of both the recommendations of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Peruvian Law.
According to a statement made by the Counsel for the ARA, the release took place as it did because the birds were “dying all the time; 30 died every 5 minutes”. The extremely high and swift rate of death amongst these parrots could well indicate that they had been exposed to virulent disease and could be devastating for local parrot populations.
There is some suggestion that the wings of at least some of the released bird had been clipped, meaning that those individuals that do not succumb to whatever was killing many others in the group are sure to die terrifying deaths, totally vulnerable to predators, unable to forage for food or to seek appropriate roosting areas or shelter.
In the seven years that it has been working in the region, NPC has identified some of the most serious barriers to effective protection of wildlife from illegal trade. These include high staff turnover and inexperience and insufficient funding (often resulting in prolonged periods without pay). These often result in minimal presence in the field, minimal effectiveness and poor animal care. Further difficulties are caused by the absence of an official protocol about how to work with wild animals, and the lack of information about suitable rescue centres.
Last week, NPC submitted an official complaint to the regional and national authorities about the illegal and irresponsible action of the ARA, asking for a review of the process by which decisions such as the ARA’s are made; and encouraging better inter-institutional cooperation.
Press Release - Charity Demands Action From Peruvian Government on Illegal Wildlife Trade
Hundreds of wild animals are being held in illegal captivity across Peru, according to NGO Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC). In response to a recent campaign, dozens of tip- offs have been received from concerned members of the public over the last month.
The organisation has handed the details over to the Peruvian government and is calling for action to stop wild animal trafficking.
Dr Noga Shanee, project director, said: “We hope that this campaign results in the rescue of the animals identified by our informants and in the prosecution of the traffickers.”
Many of the species involved are considered threatened and are protected by Peruvian law.
They range from endangered black spider monkeys to the Andean cock of the rock – the national bird of Peru - found kept illegally in a small cage as a tourist attraction.
The complaints, from thirty seven anonymous informants, reveal the whereabouts of animals kept by tourist centres, markets, roadside merchants and private homes in multiple regions of Peru (Amazonas, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Chiclayo, Junin, Lima, Ucayalli, San Martin and Tumbes).
In all cases, according to Dr. Shanee, the animals are suffering in terrible conditions and the owners do not have legal permits.
Peru has some of the richest biodiversity on the planet, but the country’s abundant wildlife is threatened by unsustainable practices, such as the destruction of habitats and wildlife trafficking. The sale of bush meat and wild animals as pets is also a major concern and some animals are now at risk of extinction.
Because funding is scarce, Peru lacks sufficient infrastructure (trained staff; rescue centres) to tackle the problem. Ill-equipped to deal with illegal traffickers, the authorities often turn a blind eye and take no action.
Internationally, the illegal wildlife trade is the third most valuable illicit trade after drugs and arms.
Dr Shanee says that anti-trafficking operations and prosecutions are “very important, not only to rescue the animals but also to educate the population and send a clear message to the wildlife traffickers that they will be punished for their actions. It is necessary that interventions take place at all stages of trafficking; during capture, transport, sale or when kept as pets or attractions and including the sale of bush meat or keepsakes.”