Lately, all the headlines around Amazonian deforestation have been Brasilian-focused. And for good reason, with the success of the ultra right-wing party in recent elections. But the Peruvian sections of this famous ecosystem are also under threat. Some organisations, like Hoja Nueva, are working to build conservation success from the ground up.
Hoja Nueva is a non-profit organisation working in the remote Piedras region of Peru. Their research center is based in the jungle, helping local communities gain conservation and sustainability education as well as imparting their own local knowledge. The center is a home to staff as well as community members and volunteers.
In 2017 founders Harry Turner and Samantha Zwicker made headlines by reintroducing a young Ocelot into the wild, in a first for that species. Tragically, an illegal hunting trap killed him 10 months later.
The organisation focuses on confronting deforestation within the Peruvian Amazon by conserving rainforests through developing micro financing programs with local communities. These programs empower women, implement scientific principles into businesses, and create an alternative income source from deforestation-contributory jobs.
Hoja Nueva also work with migrant farmers who practice slash and burn agriculture, contributing to habitat destruction and fragmentation.
They undertake a number of specific projects, like their Sustainability work. Using their homebase as an experimental center of permaculture, the group strives to incorporate sustainable practices into the Eco-Center. From here, they hope to expand the knowledge for use throughout the region. They installed composting toilets, planted native herbs, vegetables and fruit trees, and used logs that had fallen up to two years previously – meaning a healthy share of fungus paints the walls.
Currently, Hoja Nueva are working on getting funding for a brand new project: Project ReWild. They’re attempting to raise $25,000 via crowdfunding site GoFundMe, which will help them raise injured or orphaned juvenile animals and train them for eventual reintroduction to the wild.
On the GoFundMe page, they write:
“Project ReWild is not a rescue center or a zoo — not a breeding program, a human home or a cement box. Not a place for tourists or pet-owners. Project ReWild is a safe place where wild animals become wild again, led by our most experienced wildlife technicians and volunteers.
“For our #GivingTuesday campaign, any donation or purchase you make will help build Project ReWild and save hundreds of wild animals. Funds will specifically go toward the building of wild jungle enclosures for current and future animals, as well as their food and care-taking.
[Khan was killed] on protected conservation lands, with a very illegal weapon — an act that occurs far too often in the jungle and throughout the world.
This is why we’ve chosen to build Project ReWild on lands protected by our team and our many partners. We will be a safe haven for wildlife, and a source of education for anyone willing to learn about or support the conservation of wildlife and habitat.”