Land Title Secured for the Asháninka Community of Tomajao on the Tamaya River

March 2017

After more than a decade of field and legal work by community leaders and Ucayali’s titling agency, the Tomajao Indigenous Community has finally received title to their ancestral lands. The process began 2006 and UAC and ProPurús joined the struggle over the last few years when we successfully raised funding for and led the fieldwork.

Despite collecting all the necessary socio-economic, legal, and geo-referenced boundary data, our efforts were hindered by legally recognized overlapping logging concessions which needed to be removed before titling was possible. Further complicating the situation was the recent construction of a new logging road through their lands. The loggers have agreed to pay an annual use fee to the community. The new land rights allow the community to sustainably harvest wood and other forest resources.

The Tomajao community pertains to the Asháninka ethnic group and is located in the Tamaya watershed, a hotspot for illegal logging. This is an emphatic victory in the Asháninka’s fight for legal recognition of their homelands.

Members of the Tamajao community and UAC and ProPurus staff.

Logging road constructed in 2016 through Tamajao without permission.

Congressional Commission Rules Against Purús Highway

March 2017

Peru’s Congressional Commission of Andean, Amazonian, and Afro-Peruvians on Environment & Ecology has ruled against the proposed Puerto Esperanza—Iñapari Highway. While the Commission agreed that sustainable development in the Purús region should be “of national interest'”, it  outright rejected the proposal to construct a highway to connect the region with the rest of Peru, citing the need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples living in isolation as well as the importance of protecting the Alto Purús National Park. The highway would have crossed the Park and a protected reserve for Mashco-Piro tribespeople living in isolation.

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Conservation Concession Offers Unique Research Opportunities in the Purús

November 2016

Last month, UAC staff visited the Mabosinfron conservation concession and its newly constructed research station. The concession covers 6,700 hectares and is located on the La Novia River, a small tributary of the Purús River near the town of Puerto Esperanza the region’s capital (see map). The concession was approved in 2012 after six years of work by 18 men and women concerned with illegal logging and hunting in the region. It is the only research station in the 4 million hectare Alto Purús Complex and is, in fact, the only conservation concession in the entire department of Ucayali. While impacted in the past by selective logging and unsustainable hunting, the concession harbors a full spectrum of Amazonian flora y fauna, including rare species like Mahogany, jaguars and harpy eagles.

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Indigenous Leader Seeks Support in Fight Against Highway

September 2016

The president of the Alto Purús indigenous federation (FECONAPU), Emilio Montes Bardales, calls for support from conservation and indigenous rights groups in his fight against a proposed highway. During a recent interview, Mr. Montes expressed his utmost concern for highway bill #75/2016-CR, recently submitted to Peru’s congress, which proposes construction of a paved highway across the Alto Purús National Park and the Madre de Dios Indigenous Reserve for isolated tribes. It would connect the Interoceanic Highway in Madre de Dios to the remote and relatively undisturbed Alto Purús region, one of the wildest places left anywhere in the world. The indigenous communities of the Alto Purús region, who will be most impacted by the road, have repeatedly rejected the proposal over the last decade. In addition, the indigenous federation representing the tribes on the Madre de Dios side (FENEMAD) also vehemently opposes the planned highway, warning that it would result in genocide for isolated tribes.

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Police, Forestry Officials Arrested in Illegal Logging Sting in Peru

April 2016

Just a few months since Peru enacted its new forestry and wildlife law, a sting operation organized by Peru’s High Commission Against Illegal Logging resulted in the arrests of 19 people suspected in the laundering of illegal timber from the Ucayali region for export the United States and Mexico. On the ground operations were conducted by special environmental police officers based in the city of Pucallpa.

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Business a usual for illegal loggers on Peru’s Tamaya River

April 2016

A year and a half since the murders of conservationist Edwin Chota and three other indigenous leaders, rampant illegal logging continues on the Tamaya River in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon. “The wood is illegal,” says an anonymous logger with a grin, pointing to a giant raft of 1000 logs floating in a lagoon near the Asháninka community of Cametsa Kipatsi. “No, we don’t have a management plan or permits, but we pay (a bribe) to pass the post downstream. When the rains come we will bring another 2000 logs that we already cut in the forest.”

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