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A new ally to the Andean bear in Manu Biosphere Reserve

The cooperation with the German Reconstruction Credit Institute (KfW) will allow the joint work between the head offices of Manu National Park and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) in Peru to continue with efforts toward the conservation of this emblematic species and its habitat.

Pablo, the spetacled bear icon in the Manu Biosphere Reserve
Pablo, the icon of conservation of the Andean bear, reveals the importance of this species in the high Andean communities of the Manu Biosphere Reserve.

Cusco, September 14, 2017.  In march, the KfW and FZS signed an agreement to develop the Andean bear conservation project in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, having the SERNANP as a cooperating partner and pushing forward work that was initiated in 2013.

 

The agreement originated from an international contest carried out on the beginning of this year, where six representatives of governmental and state entities worldwide submitted their project proposals tackling different branches of conservation in natural protected areas.

 

Applicants from Guyana, Indonesia, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Peru had to firstly take a course called “Conservation Project Management”, offered in the University of Goethe in Frankfurt, Germany, in march this year. The workshop was organized by WWF, FZS, KPMG (legal and audit German firm) and the University of Goethe; and financed by the KfW. A jury, represented by each organizing institution, was set up to choose the three finalists, who would take home 100,000.00 euros for the development of their institutional projects.

Peru was among the winners with the Project titled “The Andean Bear, Rival or Ally to Communities? Reducing the Human versus Wildlife Conflict in the Manu Biosphere Reserve”. Geographer and FZS specialist Roxana Roxana Rojas-VeraPinto drafted the Project in close cooperation with the Peruvian SERNANP.

Women weaving in the Manu Biosphere Reserve
The formation of weaver associations is an example of a viable economic alternative to human / wildlife conflict.

As Rojas-VeraPinto states, “the objectives of this new phase focus on the development of alternative economic activities and a participative governance that seek to strengthen the relationships between national authorities and the local government in order to reduce the conflict between peasant communities and the Andean bear”.

 

The project was launched in August, with a multidisciplinary team and a period of one year. This initiative will carry the ecological and monitoring studies forward, as well as the cooperation with local communities that is being carried out since the last four years in the Mapacho Valley (Cusco). All this thanks to the broader ProBosque Manu Project, also financed by the BMUB.

 

It is worth mentioning that to this date, results obtained from analysis are bearing fruits. This is reflected not only by the amount of scientific data collected, but also by the work of the very communities, which have given their support in order to carry this endeavor forward. They were directly involved and are already experiencing the benefits that lie in teamwork. The Mapacho Valley and its communities are part of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, which in turn has Manu National Park as its core. There are therefore numerous actors pushing for conservation space and sustainable development initiatives.