Our Dear Rainforest Protectors,
I’m back from Peru with great news about our Lower Amazon Basin and Cloud Forest projects.
But first, a quick update on the political situation in Peru while I was there. It was a crazy time!
In case you missed it, Peru is currently in a 30-day state of emergency after a failed coup attempt by (now former president) Pedro Castillo. Protestors have blocked roads, taken over airports and continue to clash with police and the military. I am relieved that I was able to get home before the situation worsens.
But now that I’m back, I have good news to share.
Lower Amazon Basin Project
We did it! We reclaimed our 616 ha brazil nut concession in Madre de Dios. The corruption in this province is the worst of all of Peru. Navigating a conservation project here is definitely a challenge. Local opportunists saw the pandemic shutdowns as a means to profiteering. And ARC was not immune to this.
Prior to my arrival, we discovered that the lady from whom we bought our brazil nut concession in 2016 was in the process of reselling OUR concession to someone else. A local government official had destroyed the paperwork showing PARC (our Peruvian sister organization) as the title owner of this land. It was as if we did not exist!
Once in Peru, we fought back – armed with copies of documents in my care, along with PARC’s new executive director and new legal counsel.
It was a tough battle. Everything in Peru is still in paper documents, not online. We knew, as did the local government, that one of their officials was guilty of destroying our paperwork – presumably in a deal with this seller. Unfortunately for them, I keep copies of every piece of paperwork! As a result — and after great effort — we were able to pressure the government officials to return the brazil nut concession to us, the rightful owners.
Cloud Forest Project
After all the excitement in Madre de Dios, we returned to northern Peru to visit our cloud forest project. This was a different kind of excitement.
As we expand the jaguar corridor, we and our local team visited, explored and camped on our three new land purchases. In doing so, I had the pleasure of spending time with Elber — one of our new forest guardians. Elber was upbeat, happy and a pleasure to be around. I learned that prior to working with us, he worked for a cocaine baron. From 7 pm to 10 am, Elber picked coca leaves. Every day! Now, he enjoys two days off a week, benefits and works with people who care about his well-being. Plus, he gets to do what he loves — protect the rainforest, collect seeds for reforestation and plant trees.
The future looks bright for both projects! The positive environmental and social impacts we are making here are something we can all be proud of.
Jana and the ARC, PARC and ARC Northern Peru teams