AMAZON RIVER DOLPHINS AND MANATEES WILL BE PROTECTED IN PERU
- The Peruvian Government has approved the first ever National Action Plan for the Conservation of River Dolphins and Amazonian Manatee
- A few months ago, satellite transmitters were placed on pink dolphins, to aid towards the species conservation, for the first time in Peru
Lima, December 17th, 2018. The pink and gray river dolphins and the Amazonian manatee will now be safer than ever before. This week, after several years of an arduous process involving stakeholders throughout the Peruvian Amazon, the Ministry of Production (Produce) approved the National Action Plan for the Conservation of River Dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and (Sotalia fluviatilis) amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) in Peru.
"The national action plan is a critical tool for the conservation of these species," states biologist José Luis Mena, director of WWF Peru’s Wildlife Program, who, together with partner organization Prodelphinus, recently led the first effort to monitor river dolphins via satellite in Peru.
This plan "allows for a diagnosis of the state of the species, enables the establishment of conservation goals and of actions to be conducted and, in general, guides our efforts and those of others so that all activities around these species are more efficient to ensure their conservation", he continues.
In this regard, according to Supreme Decree 007-2018-Produce, PRODUCE is responsible for the implementation, control and monitoring of the plan, through the Vice-Ministerial Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the general directorates of Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Affairs, and of Policies and Regulatory Analysis in Fisheries and Aquaculture. The decree also highlights Peru's commitment to the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), signed in 1974.
According to Mena, for over five years, WWF and Prodelphinus have supported the process for the construction of this plan alongside other allies such as the Omacha Foundation and others. "First, we collaborated with PRODUCE in the updating of the proposal, facilitating the process and involving key stakeholders from Loreto and Ucayali. In 2015, we joined the Continental Waters Working Group of PRODUCE to promote its officialization. After a lengthy process of receiving contributions from a diversity of actors and incorporating observations from the authorities, this week the Conservation Plan for the three species was finally approved, "he explains.
A major step on the road to conservation
According to the experts, the next step is to promote the joint coordination of the State and the different relevant institutions so that the actions proposed within the Plan of Action are completed. In this regard, one of the strategic lines on the Action Plan is the Scientific Research Applied to Conservation. "We intervene directly in this aspect, with the goal of conducting population and ecological studies for the identification of priority areas and impacts exerted by the different pressures caused by human activities," Mena indicates.
Just a few months ago, for the first time, satellite transmitters were placed on eight pink river dolphins in the Peruvian Amazon. These are part of a group of about twenty individuals, monitored in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. The information gathered from these individuals contributes to the design of regional conservation strategies for these species, which in addition to their inherent importance, are key indicators of the health of the rivers in the Amazon.