We have announced through facebook since a while ago that we are going to Peru, and now we have been here for a little time. With no availability to internet, we haven’t really been able to state what we are going to do here. But it is about time!
Peru is home to some of the most unique nature on earth, but it is also amongst the most threatened regions in the world. We will work with three different areas regarding nature protection of Peruvian fauna:, research of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, research of the spectacled bear (also called Andean bear) and resource management with the local communities in the area.
The yellow-tailed woolly monkey is one of the most elusive and rare animals in South America. It was long belived to be extinct, and while it is rediscovered the species is fully reliant on conservation actions for it’s future survival. It’s distribution is limited to the cloud-forest slopes of the Andres in parts of northern part of Peru. Approximatley only 500 individuals are left. I will be taking part in conducting a behavioral study on the YTWM (shortage for Yellow-tailed woolly monkey), examining their vulnerability to stress. To do this study, we will hike into a reserve from Corosha (the village where the family will stay) and camp in the jungle for ca. one week at a time.
The spectacled bear is not the most endangered, but one of the most difficult animals to see and study of the South American fauna (it is however also threatened). It is therefore one of the hardest species to document and study. However, luckily for me, the surroundings of Corosha is probably the best place in the world to see it. This gives a rare opportunity for Julia and me to study the bear’s behavior which is largely unknown.
Why is it important to study the behavior of animals for the conservation of them? Isn’t it better to put all the focus to mitigate the conflict with humans? The behavior and the ecology of a species is an important (sometimes the most important) ingredient to why a species is threatened and others are not. Why are yellow-tailed woolly monkeys on the brink of extinction while other monkeys aren’t? In order to protect the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, we need to know more about what they are sensitive to. Are they sensitive to human presence? Selective logging? Or can they manage in these habitats? Are there other factors causing the decline?
Last, we will also work with the local communities with land management and environmental education. Slash and burn are used in Peru, just like in many other tropical countries. This method is not only highly invasive to nature, but it is also economically ineffective. This means that there is a good possibility for increased benefits for both nature and local communities. We will try to help to quantify the effects of deforestation in the local region.
And last, we will also try to keep the blog updates, with plenty of nice images! In a few days, the next blog post about our first days in Corosha will be up! This is all for now. So long!