The Peruvian government, a few months ago, gave a green signal to the formation of a new national park in the Amazonian rain forests. Yaguas National Park as it is called is situated in north-eastern Peru in the Loreto region bordering Columbia. The park, which is as big as Yellowstone National Park in the US, will help preserve more than 2 million acres of the tropical rain forest.
The new park is a repository of more than 3000 species of plants, 550 species of freshwater fish, 500 species of birds, 160 species of mammals, 110 species of amphibians, and 100 species of reptiles. Yaguas river basin holds in its wilderness animals like manatees, river dolphins, giant otters, and wooly monkeys. South American tapir whose numbers dwindled because of unbridled hunting can be restored.
Environmental and social benefits
The region is threatened by illegal logging, mining, and loss of wildlife habitat. Six indigenous tribes and 70 communities are estimated to be dependent on Yaguas river basin. The formation of the park will bring in environmental benefits to local tribes and the world. It will invigorate conservation efforts and sustain social development of local communities in Putumayo and Yaguas districts. It will also promote subsistence hunting, allow scientific research, and boost eco-tourism.
The Peruvian government stands to gain $7million over a period of 20 years by establishing the national park. The communities dependent on various local species can save more than $5.2 million through preservation of species. The park that holds large carbon deposits within a protected area will prevent loss of 1.5 million tons of carbon over next 20 years.
Getting a status of national park wasn’t easy. Tools like participatory mapping, satellite image analysis, life plans, and strategies to strengthen local federations were instrumental in gaining its present status. NGOs and local communities living in and around the park worked together for almost three decades to protect the biodiversity of the forestland.
A milestone in forest conservation
It is clear that a lot of effort has gone in to win national park status for the forest stretch known for its biodiversity. Environmental, social, and economical benefits in the offing will surely inspire others to work towards a better future.