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New Alliance Created to Protect the Alto Purús

October 2014:

UAC and ProPurús have initiated a new project to prevent illegal activities and promote sustainable resource use on the La Novia River, a tributary of the Alto Purús River near the town of Puerto Esperanza. The project’s primary objective is to create a working alliance between the Conta indigenous community, the Mabosinfrom conservation concession, and the Purús Communal Reserve which is administered by Peru’s protected areas agency, Sernanp. It is a unique opportunity to bring together these diverse stakeholders to create the region’s first-ever indigenous-mestizo (non-indigenous) conservation alliance with the goal of protecting one of the most threatened parts of the greater Alto Purús region.

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Pernambuco Lake located within the Conta indigenous community.

In October, partners convened to discuss the new alliance and elect a leadership committee. To mark the beginning of the project, ProPurus staff, community members, and guards from the Communal Reserve released several hundred yellow-spotted sideneck turtle hatchlings (Podocnemis unifilis), locally called Taricaya, into Conta’s Pernambuco Lake. The hatchlings came from eggs collected in the Alto Purús River and transported to artificial beaches at Reserve headquarters in order to be protected from unsustainable collecting. Among the project’s objectives are to re-establish healthy populations of Taricaya in Pernambuco while sustainably managing common fish species as a source of both food and income for the people of Conta.

Other project objectives include training and equipping Alliance members to conduct regular patrols along the river to prevent illegal activities and to monitor threatened species. The Alliance will initiate a publicity campaign in Puerto Esperanza to educate people on resource use regulations in the La Novia region and engage local people in new Alliance-led conservation activities. Funding for the project is being provided by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders Latin America and Caribbean program.

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Members of the new La Novia Alliance releasing Taricaya turtle hatchlings into Pernambuco Lake.