Bolivian Community Creates Vast Reserve to Protect Critically Endangered Wildlife
Announcement : Trinidad, Bolivia – Feb 22, 2017
The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) is under severe threat in its native Bolivia but the people of Loreto, a township in the northern Beni Department, have taken action.
They worked with government officials and NGOs to establish a new conservation area to protect these macaws, and many other animals.
Planning to preserve the local natural and cultural heritage began in 2016. Today (February 22nd 2017), after months of meetings and workshops, the initiative will be concluded with the declaration of the Municipal Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management Gran Mojos (or APM Gran Mojos), created by and for the villagers of Loreto.
The area is massive at a total of 580,000 hectares or 1.4 million acres, and includes a wide range of ecosystems such as wetlands and savannas.
It is home to healthy populations of many parrot species, but the area is critical habitat for the Blue-throated Macaw, which is found only in Bolivia. The rarest wild macaw, it now numbers in the low hundreds, with over 35% of the known wild population and 50% of known breeding pairs residing in the new park. The tract’s creation will also benefit a wide diversity of flora and fauna, with over 465 bird species recorded in the area, including many high profile and endangered species – jaguars, tapirs, anacondas, giant river otters, giant river turtles and pink river dolphins all call the area home.
The park is a mix of private properties and village land that the local people will manage: reducing habitat clearing, protecting water sources, and preventing fires, hunting and poaching. About 85,000 hectares are categorised as Municipal Park and the rest as Natural Integrated Management Area. To the south, the park connects with Isiboro Secure National Park and to the north, it joins Ibare Mamoré Municipal Protected Area, creating an essential corridor for wildlife.
In addition, the human population living there will gain great advantages from the new park. Everyone living in the area will have fair and equal access to the benefits of sustainable development and the conservation of natural and cultural resources, and will have a voice in decision-making processes for future preservation actions.
For this project the Municipality of Loreto had the support and advice of the Foundation for the Conservation of Bolivian Parrots (CLB), the World Parrot Trust (WPT), the Research Center in Biodiversity and Environment (CIBIOMA-UABJB), and the Blue-throated Macaw Project and its affiliated institutions.
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