Peccary pelt certification helps to conserve Amazon forests

peruvian amazon

Four local communities in the Peruvian Amazon have been certified so far. Photo by Pearl Vas

Peccary pelt certification in the Peruvian Amazon is serving as a catalyst for community-based wildlife management. Four communities are currently certified and the implementation of community based wildlife management here has resulted in positive conservation.

Certified communities are receiving economic incentives for their wildlife management efforts. They are reducing the hunting of animals vulnerable to hunting such as primates and tapirs, and have set limits on hunting of animals resilient to overhunting such as peccaries, paca and deer. They are also conserving wildlife habitat and setting non-hunted areas, leading to the broader conservation of the Amazon forests.

Managing hunting

Bushmeat hunting is an important economic resource that has been traditionally used by rural poor of the Peruvian Amazon. Rural people hunt mammals for subsistence food and to sell meat and hides in urban markets.

The certification programme is enhancing the conservation of Amazon forests and providing added income for rural families

If well managed, bushmeat hunting can provide long-term socio-economic benefits to local communities and help conserve Amazonian biodiversity through maintaining intact rainforests. If poorly managed, bushmeat hunting will lead to the extirpation of animal populations, reduced socio-economic benefits that rural people obtain from wildlife, and a decreased value of intact forests.

Certification programme

Peru is the only country in South America that exports peccary pelts and Peru permits the legal trade in peccary pelts only if they originate from subsistence hunters. The peccary pelt certification programme is a mechanism to help local communities convert unsustainable practices to more sustainable practices using the economic incentive of peccary pelts as the catalyst that causes the change.

peccary pelt

Raw peccary pelt

Local communities are certified if they manage all of their bush meat hunting sustainably and conserve intact forests for the wildlife species. Certified communities sell peccary pelts at a premium and obtain added value through their conservation efforts.

Peccary pelt certification was set up in the Peruvian Amazon after years of study on the sustainability of peccary hunting, feeding ecology and habitat use of peccaries, community-based conservation, socio economics of bush meat harvesting and peccary pelts, and the feasibility of implementing peccary pelt certification as a conservation strategy.

Enhancing conservation

Four local communities of the Tahuayo-Blanco river basin (El Chino, Buena Vista, Diamante and San Pedro) have been certified and the wildlife management plans are verified. The implementation of community based wildlife management in these four communities has resulted in a reduction in the hunting of animals vulnerable to hunting; the keeping of hunting registries; the use of sustainability models such as the Unified Harvest Model to evaluate harvest quotas for communities; and the reforestation of degraded wildlife habitats.

With an increasing number of communities becoming certified the programme is enhancing the conservation of Amazon forests, providing added income for rural families and demonstrating the importance of the environmentally sensitive consumer as a driver for conservation of the Amazon rainforests.

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