Our Projects

Peru is the second country to own the largest part of rain forest in Latin America. Half of its territory, seventy millions ha,  is composed of forest, which means 13% of the Amazonian forest. Its eco-systems are considered as containing the planet's richest biodiversity.

Caiman Monitoring: Research on the Amazon's Largest Predator

 

 

 

 

 

 Weekly caiman monitoring is one of the missions we care for here at Panthera sanctuary. Collecting data on these wonderful animals and monitoring their general health, helps us understand more about their behaviour and how to protect this keystone species. 



Our staff is trained to teach you how to catch caimans in their natural habitat and safely handle them to protect both you and them. Read more about our most recent caiman projects here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mammal Monitoring: Attracting Some of the Amazon's Most Fascinating Biodiversity

 

Mammal monitoring is a two-part process. Firstly, we attract mammals with fruits via designated platforms for them to find and eat, establishing a regular foraging pattern. Secondly, we observe them and record their presence onto our datatbase. Our game cameras allow us to idenfity more elusive or nocturnal mammals, and silent forest walks are great for spotting mammals during the day. Here at Panthera, a large proportion of our information gathered from animal monitoring has been acquired through the game camera. This motion-censored piece of equipment is capable of capturing images as well as videos and audio footage of whatever moves in front of its line of vision. Volunteers help to set up the game camera and retrieve it from the various sites it is placed. Once set up, the game camera remains at the site for between two and four weeks, depending on the location. When the camera is retrieved, it is checked for results. The footage on the camera is extremely crucial in assessing the level of animal activity and more specifically, what kinds of animals are present.

Ornithology

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds in the Amazon rainforest make up at least a third of the world's total bird species! Since birds are not able to be caught without the appropriate equipment, we rely on detailed photos to identify each species. A variety of macaws, small parrots, parakeets, and toucans are seen flying overhead while other smaller, less vibrant birds require more searching, as they commonly seek refuge in branches or within a complex network of vines. Like mammal monitoring, we observe by silently walking through the forest and recording data on birds spotted on low branches or up in the canopy. Using our observation tower located in a seasonally flooded forest area accessible by bridge also gives us the opportunity to spot birds more easily in open areas.

 

 

Agroforestry and Neotropical Permaculture

One of our missions here is to maintain and expand our organic agroforestry system, including plants such as coffee, cacao, banana, pineapple, avocado, (etc). Our volunteers are taught how to safely use a machete to maintain the land and help it grow. The agroforest naturally offers a huge wealth of biodiverse flora and fauna; a perfect space for both to thrive.

A majority of agriculture in this region involves selecting a piece of rainforest, slashing and burning it to quickly clear the land, constructing a monoculture to sell in town or export to other areas, and abandoning the land once the soil is wiped out of nutrients and crop yields and profits decrease. In the end, this results in agricultural workers finding another piece of rainforest to repeat the process over and over again.

Our agroforestry plot involves the production of crops as well, but the way in which it is done differs from traditional agricultural practices. Rather than clearing large sections of rainforest, we incorporate native trees, shrubs, and vines into the area along with our selected crops to maintain a rainforest ecosystem and minimize the impact we have on surrounding wildlife. Furthermore, allowing leguminous plants and small vines to remain carpeted on the ground of the agroforest help retain soil moisture and fertility. All in all, the agroforest promotes agricultural sustainability by demonstrating the Amazon rainforest’s remarkable process of efficient nutrient cycling.

Herpetology

 


Explore the rainforest by day and night whilst searching for some of the Amazon’s most impressive creatures. This type of monitoring involves walking slowly in the forest to locate many of the snakes, lizards, and frogs lying idle on the branches, leaves, and forest floor. Specimen are caught and placed into and kept in fauna boxes until we return to camp to identify them. An identification key is then used to identify the genus and species of each individual before we take pictures and release them back into the wild. This provides the perfect opportunity for volunteers who wish to learn how to use and navigate an identification key to practice with diverse Amazonian creatures Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a species of animal known to be rare to the region!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainforest Expeditions

 

 

Trekking through the rainforest gives us the opportunity to explore new and important parts of the surrounding landscape and is an exciting opportunity to witness remote and sensitive ecosystems. This allows us to learn more about the way these systems function by taking first-hand observations. With the use of a gps and satellite imaging, we are able to create our own map of all the terrain we explore, including unchartered territory. Marking points of interest on the gps and imputing them into our satellite imaging program, we are able to locate these areas again with ease. Important sites including permanent water sources, illegal activity, rare plants, claylicks, swamps and other types of things that are hidden from view on the satellite map must be marked to increase our knowledge of what can be found in the Amazon.

 

 

Reserve Patrols

 

     A small, abandoned gold mining site.

 

An important part of our work here at Panthera Sanctuary is to ensure the protection and preservation of the surrounding ecosystem. The foothills of the Andes are plagued with goldmining activities and illegal tree-logging, so a proportion of what we monitor involves collecting evidence for this, and tracking their presence. Our most frequent finding is logger equipment and newly-opened trails, of which we record. These points are also inputted into our gps and satellite imaging programs so we remember where these illegal sites are located. We are proud to say that Panthera is free from tree loggers and gold miners, however, our neighbors’ lands require a more watchful eye. Since we help them patrol their land, they in turn authorize us to walk through their portions of rainforest. More land to explore!

            

Entomology

                                                                                                                                                      Insects are excellent indicators of general ecosystem health. Consequently, another key focus of ours is to engage in a number of entomological projects involving the collection of insects within various sites and the observation of behavioral and spatial changes amongst a number of species. Insect collecting and pinning is an activity that enables us to maintain an inventory of some of the thousands of species that reside in the rainforest alone.

 

Forest Education

Learn how to identify and navigate within the jungle with one of Panthera’s forest specialists. Floral and faunal identification is very important, whether this is for recognizing ecological significance of a particular species, or for assessing the safety of a plant or animal. We will teach you important information and safety and show you some of Panthera’s most interesting and beautiful places.


Aguajales: Conserving the Mother of the Forest

 

               

Drapeau du Pérou Aguajales is a flooded zone most of the year where a particular palm tree grows called Mauritia flexuosa, known as the “tree of life” by the locals. This area is composed of a thorny entanglement of lianas and shrubs considered as unbridgeable and scary by the local people. It shelters a flora and fauna, characteristic of this environment: ungulates, monkeys, fish, reptiles, and choke fig trees…Its inaccessibility represents a natural protective barrier against predators, poachers and for scientists as well! That’s why a large part of the flora and fauna living there remain unknown.
This ecosystem has the peculiar characteristic to assimilate up to 480 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare, which means three to five times more than any other tropical ecosystem.

*That palm tree gives fruit which enters in the staple diet of the local people and is commonly used for local crafts. Once the palm tree is brought down, local people extract a larva (mouse), which eaten raw or cooked is considered as a delicacy.

This palm tree may need from thirty to a hundred years, to reach its mature up size.Anaconda vert

 

At the edge of the reserve is an old aquajales. It was neglected by its previous owner who didn’t have second thoughts when he cut down a few palm trees. We therefore decided to proceed to its reforestation.
Our main observations are carried out, in and around aguajales. For here lives a great number of endangered species, which haven’t been classified yet, in particular the Green anaconda (Eunectes Murinus) and the tapir (Tapirus Terrestris).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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