The Large Mammals Project in the Cayambe Coca National Park, is studying the largest mammals of the Andes of South America, Andean Bear, Mountain Tapir and Puma. Since 2010 we have deployed Iridium / GPS collars to 5 Andean bears and 10 mountain tapirs. Some scientific articles on the ecology and biology of these species have already been published. Three years ago we received the request for help from the Oyacachi indigenous community, which since 2000 is suffering the loss of its cattle due to the predation by bears and pumas.
To reduce the conflict, we have created a small compensation program through a mutual agreement signed with the Oyacachi community, they are committed to respect and protect the life of the problem carnivores, especially bears, in exchange for our project returning calves to change of predated cows, training of the community´s young people on environmental issues, review and veterinary medication of their livestock, these points we have more or less covered with donations coming from Ecuadorian people.
Our project now seeks through the research is to capture one or two predatory bears to deploy on them satellite collars and study their movements, so we can create a predict model about bear predation, never before conceived in the region, which will be delivered to the community and to the environmental authorities, so we think we will reduce the human-bear conflict and achieve a peaceful coexistence.
The Andean bear is endemic to South America, and has the status of an umbrella species. Andean bears are classified as ‘Vulnerable to extinction, decreasing’ according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened species and locally as ‘Endangered’. The general ecology and status of local populations of Andean bear remains poorly understood. Two important reasons explain this knowledge gap. First, the Andean bear is a challenging species to study, because it has an elusive nature and inhabits inaccessible habitat. Secondly, resources for wildlife research are very scarce in South America. During a pilot project in 2012-2015, we used remote video cameras to study marking behavior of Andean bears near the Sumaco Biosphere reserve in Ecuador. Besides interesting preliminary results, we identified several key-research needs for the management and conservation of Andean bears. I) The functional significance of marking behavior of Andean bears remains unclear. II) Local population status is typically unknown. III) Virtually nothing is known about the spatial features of Andean bear marking and habitat selection. IV) An open biological sample database for Andean bears is currently lacking. Additionally, V) we intend to enroll Filipczykova into a PhD program at the Central Queensland University (CQUniversity).
Since 2016, we work on the above-mentioned key research-needs and objectives using camera trapping and GPS mapping of bear sign data in two study populations in Ecuador. In addition, we established collaborations with other research groups, local communities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to reduce human-bear conflict. Currently we are searching for funding that would support our field work for the season 2018/2019, especially extensive habitat measurements; i.e. camera traps, camping equipment, guide salaries, other technical equipment. Also, Filipczyková got accepted as a PhD student at CQUniversity focusing on conservation of Andean bears through their marking behavior and data obtained from this project. CQUniversity approved a fee waiver, which means that we are still looking for funding to support Filipczyková\’s salary.
Proyecto Tití is a non-profit organization working to guarantee a long-term future for the cotton-top tamarin, a small primate that only ives in the tropical forests of northern Colombia, and that is critically endangered due to extensive deforestation and by its capture for the illegal pet trade. Proyecto Tití develops its mission through the implementation of permanent field research, forest protection and restoration, environmental education and awareness and community development programs, to reduce the use and exploitation of forest resources for subistence by local communities.
For almost three decades, the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) has been instrumental in saving and protecting the much endangered seasonal forests of northeastern Belize (Central America). In 1989, it created the Shipstern Conservation and Management Area (8,800 hectares), a private reserve now under trust in perpetuity and integrated as an IUCN category II reserve in the National Protected Area System of Belize. Shipstern protects a very diverse mosaic of Yucatan-related habitats, among which an extremely rare coastal dry forests. It is a very important habitat for Baird’s Tapir, among many other Yucatan endemics.
In 2014, CSFI entered co-management agreements with the Government of Belize and now manages the Honey Camp National Park (3100 hectares) and the Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve (11,500 hectares), both large reservoirs of forests in a context were industrial agriculture is fast taking over. Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve, for which CSFI also received a 40-year concession to carry out sustainably forestry, has turned out to still have healthy populations of several cat species, as well as large troops of the endangered White-lipped Peccary. CSFI is presently very actively collaborating towards the creation of a large biological corridor between Shipstern and Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve, together with the government and other NGOs in the country.
CSFI applies a three-pronged approach to its work: Conservation & Education, Tourism and Sustainable Forestry (the last in FCFR only). Today, the project is being recognized as a highly efficient conservation effort. CSFI is also very proud to be an entirely field-based organization, with no offices in large cities.