Protecting the Wattled Curassow in Bolivia by combining scientific investigation and community outreach with Amazon indigenous people
The Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa), a globally threatened species, was believed to be extinct in Bolivia until its rediscovery by Armonía in 2001.
The single known population is found in a small area of Amazon forest in the Takana III Indigenous Territory of northern Bolivia. Estimated at fewer than 130 individuals, this last remaining population in the country is considered Critically Endangered at the national level.
The Wattled Curassow program combines scientific investigation with community outreach and assistance, building a strong collaborative relationship with the local indigenous people. The indigenous communities that share their home with the species live in poverty and must use the forest to feed their families. How can they afford to care about the extinction of a bird? To overcome this problem, we are directly linking nature’s protection with improved living standards and livelihoods.
If our conservation programs across Bolivia are to become successful long-term, we must understand the needs of our people, especially poor and marginalized communities. This is why the empowerment of the Bolivian people is central to our mission.
Discover the 4 main ways that Armonía is saving the Wattled Curassow from extinction, while empowering indigenous communities:
- Establishing a Protected Zone for the Wattled Curassow with the support of local people
- Creating a community-run ecotourism project to support local people
- Running an educational campaign to raise awareness about the importance of the species
- Empowering indigenous people through community organization and management
If you would like to support the Wattled Curassow program – to save this Critically Endangered species in Bolivia and a wealth of other threatened wildlife – please donate.
Protected Zone: saving habitat and wildlife
A Critically Endangered population of Wattled Curassow has made their home in the Amazon forest of the Takana III Indigenous Territory. Here four communities share their forest with a wealth of wildlife – from the endangered Beni Titi Monkey and the Black-faced Black Spider Monkey, to the Jaguar and Tapir.
Armonía has been working in the area to raise awareness about the importance of the forest and its wildlife. This inspired a self-imposed community ban on all hunting and logging activities within the Protected Zone, showing local people’s commitment to protecting the Wattled Curassow and its habitat.
Ecotourism: supporting local people
A community-based tourism project has been developed with the indigenous people of San Marcos, providing them with an alternative, extra livelihood. We have trained 14 community members in food preparation and service, guiding, and first-aid. This gave the participants extra skills and greater confidence in attending tourists.
Educational campaigns: raising awareness
Armonía successfully integrated environmental education into the formal education system by developing schoolyard ecology workshops for teachers and students, while providing bilingual educational materials.
As well as environmental education within schools, we have trained community biologists; giving them skills in map reading, compass and GPS use, and survey methods. This training enabled the community biologists to successfully carry out their first solo expedition to census Wattled Curassow and other wildlife of conservation concern.
Indigenous people: empowerment
To build capacity for the self-management of the Takana III Indigenous Territory, a series of workshops and training sessions were undertaken, covering topics such as indigenous peoples’ rights, indigenous territory organization and governance, and natural resource management. This work led to a strategic conservation and development plan that integrates environmental, economic, social and cultural issues.
The Wattled Curassow program has achieved great successes, but must continue its conservation to secure the protection of the Wattled Curassow forever.
The program urgently needs support to fund the ongoing management of the Protected Zone, to continue the educational campaigns, to enhance the community-run ecotourism, and to help support indigenous communities.
If you would like to support the Wattled Curassow program – to save this threatened species and help support indigenous people – please donate.
Thank you for your support