Firstly, the not-so-good news…
It would appear that our neighbours ‘up the road’ are cutting endangered trees again on, or next to, our land! Twice, in as many weeks, we have heard the sound of chainsaws very, very close to our land, and the sound of large trees falling and then being cut into planks. As the boundary lines are somewhat hazy at the moment, we are not sure exactly whose trees these are and although we have previously submitted several ‘denuncias’ (letters of condemnation) to the Ministerio de Ambiente (Environment Ministry), for the same reason and to request investigation by the authorities, they do not appear to have been dissuaded from continuing. Previous discussions with the neighbours has led to vociferous denial of wrongdoing! We are considering a further denuncia.
On a more positive note, other near neighbours have signed up for ‘Programa Socio Bosque’ ( a programme to protect forested areas – a government sponsored carbon credit scheme). This scheme supports individuals and groups maintain privately-owned forested land as protected areas. Although the Fundacion has some reservations about the scheme, it is very encouraging to see that there are people locally who wish to preserve this rapidly diminishing environment.
The concrete roof on the quarantine-clinic has been completed as far as is possible for just now and is being left to dry for 28 days before removing the jacks and the framework that are holding it up. The next stage will begin on the 10th March and we will see how far our resources can stretch towards completion of the building.
In the meantime, planning and organising is happening to remove the (very heavy!) animal trap cages currently stored on friends’ land and taking them to store at the side of the entry road to the Fundacion’s land. These have been used previously in attempting to rescue large animals (jaguars) in danger of being shot by local farmers ‘protecting’ their cattle and other domesticated animals. By keeping them close by, the intention is to keep them well-maintained and ready for use should the need arise again.
This month, a further five venomous equis snakes were removed from the land and relocated closer to the Llanganates National Park. As most of these were found crossing paths, it is an appropriate reminder to always watch were feet are being placed, especially when not on paths! And, they (the snakes!)climb trees, too!
A box turtle, or tapaculo, has been handed in to the Fundacion in order that it might be released in an area appropriate for it. This, however, is not where the Fundacion has its Centre but in the coastal, Esmereldas area of Ecuador (indeed close to where it was found – on a road in danger of being killed by passing traffic). It is intended to find a way to transport the animal to where it should be living and release it as soon as possible.
Several times again a group (or perhaps more than one) of tamarin monkeys has been seen on and near the land, and there is a large, so far unidentified, animal spending time at the side of the small stream. In future, the trap cameras will help us identify such visitors.
Finally, one of the Fundacion’s stalwarts, Glen, has recently returned to the UK in order to further his plans to develop his new project – a reptile rescue, rehabilitation and release programme centre as a neighbour of the Fundacion Fauna de la Amazonia in the Colonia 24 de Mayo. Very best wishes, Glen, your support, ideas, hard work and commitment will be sorely missed!