Americas, Prosperity, Planet, Peace & Partnership, Natural Capital & The Environment

New protected area in Bolivia is nearly as large as Yellowstone in the US

Mongabay | Jul 09, 2019

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This article was originally published by Mongabay and is republished with permission.

  • A new protected area in northwest Bolivia will promote wildlife conservation and sustainable development in local communities, its creators say.
  • The municipal government of Reyes, in northwest Bolivia, approved the Municipal Park and Natural Area of Integral Management Rhukanrhuka on June 25. The protected area encompasses some 859,451 hectares or more than 2.1 million acres, making it nearly as large as Yellowstone National Park in the United States, widely regarded to be the first national park ever created.
  • According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Rainforest Trust, which worked with the Reyes government and local communities to establish Rhukanrhuka, the municipal protected area will benefit the local economy as well as titi monkeys, river dolphins, wattled curassows and other wildlife.

A new protected area in northwest Bolivia will promote wildlife conservation and sustainable development in local communities, its creators say.

The municipal government of Reyes, in northwest Bolivia, approved the Municipal Park and Natural Area of Integral Management Rhukanrhuka on June 25. The protected area encompasses some 859,451 hectares or more than 2.1 million acres, making it nearly as large as Yellowstone National Park in the United States, widely regarded to be the first national park ever created.

Rhukanrhuka is located in the same region as Bolivia’s Madidi National Park, which, together with several other nearby protected areas such as Peru’s Manu Biosphere Reserve, is considered one of the world´s most biodiverse and largest protected area complexes.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Rainforest Trust, which worked with the Reyes government and local communities to establish Rhukanrhuka, the municipal protected area will benefit the local economy as well as titi monkeys, river dolphins, wattled curassows and other wildlife.

“For us, partnerships like this are fundamental to the establishment of effective, sustainable protected areas,” Mark Gruin, Acting CEO of Rainforest Trust, said in a statement.

The Reyesanos are proud custodians of their future. Here children show love for the titi monkeys, a conservation objective of the new the Rhukanrhuka Municipal protected area in Bolivia. Photo Credit: Andres Ramirez @WCS.

Half of Rhukanrhuka is categorized as a municipal park that includes the most intact areas of tropical rainforest and natural grasslands in the protected area, while the other half of the park has been designated as a “Natural Area of Integrated Management,” which means that it will include both communal and private properties owned by local villages and cattle ranchers who are “committed to reconciling their economic activities with nature conservation through appropriate zoning and management of the protected area,” according to WCS.

The new municipal law adopted by the Reyes government to create the park also establishes a management committee for the park with a number of core objectives like conserving the area of transition between the Sub Andean and Llanos de Mojos ecosystems, conserving forests and other resources, maintaining critical connectivity in the Bolivian Amazon, preserving the region’s cultural and archaeological heritage, and developing the local and regional economy through ecotourism and other opportunities.

Threatened wildlife, such as Ollallae´s and Beni titi monkeys, the two species of endangered titi monkeys that are endemic to the area, as well as the wattled curassow and the Bolivian pink river dolphin, will also benefit from the creation of Rhukanrhuka. In fact, Rhukanrhuka is the name the indigenous Maropa people have given to the titi monkeys found in their lands.

Dr. Lilian Painter, Country Director for WCS’s Bolivia Program, said in a statement: “We applaud the Municipal Government of Reyes, its communities and private ranchers for taking this huge step towards reconciling local livelihoods, sustainable development and cultural values; with the need to protect this vast wilderness and key species.”

Olallae’s titi monkey is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world and the new Rhukanrhuka Municipal protected area will conserve 50 percent of its habitat. Photo Credit: Jesus Martinez @WCS.

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