Event celebrates the science behind Yaguas National Park

On January 10, Peru declared a massive new national park in the Yaguas watershed near its border with Colombia. The 2.1 million acres cover a huge Amazonian biome not strictly protected anywhere else in Peru’s parks system. The park will protect two-thirds of Peru’s known freshwater fish diversity, and reflect the vision of local indigenous people who consider the area a source for flora and fauna that they call the sachamama, that is, Mother Forest, which they have worked to conserve for decades.  On January, 23, in an event hosted by the Ministry of the Environment and the Peruvian parks service, Corine Vriesendorp, Nigel Pitman, and five Peruvian scientists presented the science behind this declaration to an audience of 20 indigenous leaders who live near the new national park, and 60 people from Peruvian NGO’s, governmental agencies, and civil society. The mood was deeply celebratory. Three weeks later, on February 14 , the New York Times showcased Yaguas in a compelling article that sharply contrasts Peru’s conservation vision and leadership with the current American administrations weakening of its existing conservation areas (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/science/peru-yaguas-national-park.html). The article showcases stunning images by long-time Field Museum collaborator Alvaro del Campo, and Corine was quoted several times, summing it all up this way: “People don’t create national parks every day. It really is a big deal.”