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Conserving turtles, medicinal plants and tribal lands in the Amazon

Visit the Amazon rainforest in EcuadorWe recently received an update from Arajuno Jungle Lodge and the Arajuno Foundation where we stay on our trips to the Amazon in Ecuador.  Their projects to protect habitats, species and indigenous ways of life in the Amazon rainforest have made some fantastic achievements:

“Yellow Spotted Turtle rescue and repopulation – one adult Yellow Spotted female is current carrying eggs and is expected to dig her nest any day now.  We have quadrupled our nesting area, giving her a wider selection of nesting sites and conditions.  With any luck at all, our very first batch of baby turtles will be emerging from the sand sometime in March or April.

Giant River Turtles – we also have two healthy adult male Giant River Turtles to attend to three adult females.  They also could be placing their eggs into the sand of our breeding area at any time.  So, we now have the potential to produce hundreds of baby turtles from both endangered species in 2012.

We are acquiring a new motor for our little fiberglass riverboat.  With this added mobility, we will be able to inventory and monitor wild nesting beaches, control the greatly reduced but still existing illegal dynamite-fishing, accomplish more follow-up work with our local communities; and facilitate the movement of scientists, volunteers, and staff in their daily conservation duties.

The Giant Bamboo project – we planted hundreds of bamboo plants along the Arajuno River to stabilize streambanks, provide an alternative source of firewood, edible shoots, construction material, as well as capture tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.  All of the communities we work with along the Arajuno River now have their own Giant Bamboo plantations established and within a few years will be able to produce their own seed stock for future plantings.

Ethnobotanical/Medicinal/Food security project – our latest initiative.  The goal of this initiative is to revive traditional and cultural use of key plants that have been used for centuries by the native ancestors of the Kichwa indians.  These plants played an important role in the survival of past cultures.  Today much of this knowledge is forgotten or not practiced.

In Feburary of 2012, we plan to host an international conference of indigenous tribes with the focus being recognition and establishment of formal ethnic and tribal boundaries and natural/cultural resource management plans for each ethnic group.  This is only one small part of an Ecuadorian national initiative to identify and legalize the territories of each ethnic group.

Ceramics Workshop in collaboration with Eastern Kentucky University.  This will be an expansion of our previous initiative of organizing, training and, improving the ancient art of ceramics while modifying traditional firing techniques to increase the quality and durability of traditional ceramics produced by ancestors of the local indigenous tribes.

Thank you so very much for your past and continuing support.”

Find out more about Arajuno Jungle Lodge and the Arajuno Foundation

Check out our tours to Ecuador on our South America trips page

Posted in South America.

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