Chris Fagan

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Ucayali Loggers Using Indigenous Communities in the Alto Purús to Launder Mahogany

July 2012: In February, Peru’s agency in charge of forestry and wildlife supervision, OSINFOR, sanctioned and fined two Alto Purús indigenous communities over $50,000 (US) each for logging infractions. In both cases the logging companies used the community permits to “clean” and transport illegal wood cut elsewhere. Mahogany laundering is common practice in southeastern Peru where the last remaining stands of mature trees are found only in very remote regions like the Alto Purús. Rather than work legally with communities, and pay high transportation costs (there are no roads, all wood is flown out) and comply with efficiency and reforestation requirements, loggers often choose to work illegally in protected areas and indigenous lands. However in order to transport and sell the illegal wood, they need …

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Peru’s Ministries Declare Purús Highway Unconstitutional

June 2012: Three of Peru’s ministries have declared their opposition to the Puerto Esperanza – Iñapari Highway. In separate letters to Congress, the ministry of the Environment, Culture and Transportation announced their unequivocal opposition to the proposal due to various concerns including the highway’s potential impact on isolated indigenous tribes. The highway is supported by a handful of mestizo living in the region but vehemently opposed by the indigenous majority. Congress is expected to vote on the proposal in August.

Peru’s Politicians Ignore Indigenous Rights and Push for “Highway of the Dead”

May 2012:Members of Peru’s Congress have submitted a bill which would declare a controversial highway project “a public necessity and a national interest priority.” The bill was signed by 23 members and sent to Congress in April despite adamant opposition from the indigenous tribes whose ancestral lands the road would cross. (See bill sent to Congress.) The highway is planned for the Alto Purús region, a remote and  roadless area of world-class biological and cultural diversity. It is among the least disturbed parts of the entire Amazon Basin. Proponents are pushing for a 300 kilometer road to connect the small town of Puerto Esperanza, in Ucayali department, to the InterOceanic Highway in the town of Iñapari in Madre de Dios …

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Indigenous Leaders Write Letters Rejecting the Purús-Iñapari Highway and Demanding Expulsion of Controversial Priest

April 2012: In separate letters to authorities, the Alto Purús indigenous federation, FECONAPU, and community chiefs have reiterated their rejection of a proposed highway and demanded the immediate expulsion of the Italian priest behind the proposal. The first letter was addressed to Peru’s congressional commission on foreign relations.  In it the indigenous leaders request government support to improve living conditions in the region. Specifically the letter asks for improved health care, education, transportation, environmental protection and other support needed to confront problems affecting the region’s inhabitants. The Alto Purús has a population of roughly 4,500 inhabitants, 80% of whom are indigenous. Divided among 47 communities, the indigenous people practice traditional subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing, gathering forest resources and …

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New Conservation Concession Approved in the Alto Purús

May 2012: The Ucayali regional government has approved the first conservation concession for the Purús province. The concession covers 6,700 hectares of lowland forest that borders the Purús Communal Reserve and titled indigenous lands. It will be managed by the local organization, MABOSINFRON, which plans to develop research and other projects that promote the conservation of vulnerable flora and fauna species. MABOSINFRON is comprised of mestizo leaders from nearby Puerto Esperanza who have pledged to work with guards from the Reserve as well as neighboring indigenous communities to protect the area from continued illegal mahogany logging. According to the director of Purús Communal Reserve, Rafael Pino: “For us, it is extremely important that MABOSINFRON implement activities that help recover threatened timber …

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New Photos of Isolated Tribe Raises Concerns About Their Future

February 2, 2012: New photos of “uncontacted” people in southeastern Peru raise serious concerns about Peru’s ability to ensure the safety of some of the world’s last indigenous tribes living in voluntary isolation. The striking photos, released by Survival International, show several members of the Mashco Piro tribe sitting on a river bank outside Manu National Park. See the photos and report released by Survival International. The Mashco Piro inhabit the extremely remote forests of Manu and Alto Purús National Park, which together comprise one of the least disturbed regions in the entire Amazon Basin if not the world. Using small streams to criss-cross the dense forest on their seasonal migrations, the Mashco Piro have chosen to live in isolation, …

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Traditional Indigenous Way of Life Threatened by Proposed Road in Purús

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 7, 2012 PUERTO ESPERANZA, Perú — Local indigenous communities and their federation, FECONAPU, are fighting construction of a proposed road through the Purús region that would threaten their traditional way of life. The proposed road would connect the Purús, the very headwaters of the Amazon and one of the world’s most remote, most intact and most culturally important natural areas, with the newly paved Interoceanic Highway in Madre de Dios. Roads in the Peruvian Amazon are well documented highways not just for people, but for exponential increases in ilicit resource extraction, from illegal mining, poaching and logging to drug trafficking. Even the best laid plans have gone astray in recent years, as the agencies charged …

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