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Creation of Cerro Negro “Mountain Tapir” Sanctuary,
Piura & Cajamarca states, Peru

By Craig C. Downer, Andean Tapir Fund, P.O. Box 456,
Minden, NV 89423 USA (2/26/06)

A nature sanctuary in NW Peru’s Cordillera de Las Lagunillas would be created in an area of vital importance to Peru’s remaining endangered mountain tapir. This sanctuary would link occupied mountain tapir habitat in Peru’s existing Tabaconas-Namballe National Sanctuary with similar habitat in Ecuador, thus preventing population fragmentation through the establishment of a biological corridor. The approximate size of this projected sanctuary is 60,000 hectares.

The following steps would be taken to achieve this goal:

Professional preparation of a map delineating the precise boundaries of the new sanctuary based on existing montane forest and paramo habitat and documenting present distribution of the mountain tapir, habitat contiguity, land ownership and usage and political jurisdiction. This map would include several overlays, including for mountain tapir presence, vegetation type, and land tenancy.


The preparation of descriptive lists of species found in the proposed sanctuary and to include mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, plants and fungi. These lists would indicate known endemic/rare/endangered/threatened/near-threatened status, both according to current Peruvian and IUCN SSC Red List criteria.

The preparation of a thorough-going professional justification for the new sanctuary to include items (1) and (2) above as well as the legal, ecological and conservation foundations for its creation. The proposed sanctuary is located at the southern limit of the Northern Andean Center of Endemism and just to the north of the Huancabamba Depression of the Andes, a significant North-South barrier to many species and an area of high species endemism in its own right.

The professional presentation of this proposal will be made to all appropriate government agencies from the municipal and provincial to the departmental to the national levels and in coordination with all relevant natural resource agencies, such as Peru’s national INRENA, and to conservation organizations, such as WWF-Peru. The latter two have recently completed a “rapid biological evaluation” in and around the Tabaconas-Namballe sanctuary and have recommended an extension of this reserve. Their work will provide corroborating support for the new Cerro Negro sanctuary.

Contingent upon the sanctuary’s legal creation, the Andean Tapir Fund would actively pursue the sanctuary’s implementation through budgetary allocations, public education, the promotion of alternative lifestyles, active in-field and legal vigilance of ecosystems/ species present, scientific study and monitoring of wildlife species, including especially the mountain tapir, among other activities.

Prior Accomplishments and Funding

Approximately $80,000 in direct and in-kind support has been invested in this project to date; and this has resulted in increased national and international awareness of this area, its mountain tapirs and other rare/endemic species, and threats thereto, particularly mining and poaching, as evidence numerous germane articles and radio/TV programs. Municipal and provincial governments have declared nature reserve status to much of the proposed sanctuary. Currently species lists are in preparation and the other above mentioned items are also being actively advanced. (Read: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2006/2006-02-06-insdow.asp)

Funding Sought: Support is now urgently needed to bring this project to full fruition. For this reason, the Andean Tapir Fund is requesting the following in reference to items 1-5 above: (1) Map – $5000. (2) Descriptive species lists – $5,000. (3) Sanctuary Justification – $10,000, including hire of lawyer. (4) Promotion of legal sanctuary creation – $20,000. (5) (contingent on success of [4]) Sanctuary implementation – $40,000.


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