16 Apr 2014
Initial Actions Towards the Conservation of Three Species of Endangered River Turtles in the Colombian Amazonia. Community-Based Nests Monitoring and Educational Pilot Programmes
Community-Based Conservation Program of River Turtles by Indigenous Peruvian and Colombian Communities of the Amazon River
Community-Based Conservation Program of Three Endangered Species of River Turtles with Amazonian Indigenous Communities of Colombia and Peru 2012
We aim to further reduce nests poaching and nesting females hunting in the area, to continue gathering population data, and to ensure persistence of conservation actions in time through local and regional alliances.
Based on a local initiative, this program started in 2008 with support of RSG and has focused on awareness-raising by communities of the area and appropriation, training and capacity-building of Local Conservation Groups (LCGs). These have received special training in conservation and environmental education and, throughout the nesting seasons they have protected conservation beaches of the area and carried out awareness-raising activities with neighbour communities, especially school children. By 2012, the program had reached unprecedented results in terms of conservation (significant reduction of nests and females predation in the area), participation (50 guardians, four LCGs, four communities of Colombia and Peru) and awareness of neighbour communities (interest and participation in activities, respect for LCGs' work). Due to insufficient funding, the activities were interrupted in 2013 and a non-beach-protection scenario was monitored, which showed an increase in 94% in nest poaching and further highlighted importance of LCGs' work. This evidenced that, together with further awareness-raising among communities of the area, night beach surveillance is and will still be necessary for several upcoming seasons.
The 2014-2015 phase of the program aims to further reduce nests poaching and nesting females hunting in the area, to continue gathering population data, and to ensure persistence of conservation actions in time through local and regional alliances. We aim not only to regain the momentum reached in 2012 but also to further intensify our conservation and awareness actions. The effectiveness of beach guarding, in terms of protected nests and females, will be improved by incorporating two new LCGs and counting with a greater number of monitors per night, covering the four main beaches of the area. Furthermore, we will profit of experience gained by older groups and its transmission to new groups in finding nests, data gathering, erasing the tracks and avoiding disturbance of nesting females. To encourage this knowledge transfer, monitoring teams will include participants form new and experienced LCGs.
We also expect that more communities involved and more socialisation and awareness-raising activities will lead to no night visitors to the conservation beaches (i.e. no nesting female extraction), less nest poaching during day and, in general, a greater community support for the LCGs activities.
Finally, we aim to build a support network with local and regional, governmental and private institutions to ensure the Program's permanence and future expansion.