Protecting the Bahuaja Sonene National Park from Illegal Activities

Timeframe: 2020 – 2022
Country/Region: Peru
Partner: Frankfurt Zoological Society

Bahuaja-Sonene National Park (BSNP) is located in Peru’s southern regions, bordering the Madidi National Park in Bolivia: it is a key connection for conservation in this area, linking the Manu-Purús complex to Bolivia. The park protects a mosaic of ecosystems from the highlands to the lowlands and includes important montane tropical forests as well as humid tropical savannas. Due to its location, BSNP is also critically important in the protection of water resources flowing from the catchment areas in the Andean highlands into the Amazon basin.

In recent years the rapid development of illegal alluvial gold mining, as well as selective logging and agricultural expansion for coca leaf production are increasingly invading the park, threatening the integrity of the park, its rivers and the value of its biodiversity. The production of illegal drugs in the forest is a particular threat that is difficult to stop, as it can be done without deforestation. Combatting these illegal activities requires intensive ground and aerial patrols, development of infrastructure, equipment, park rangers, constant analysis of satellite images and engagement with other law enforcement agencies.

Our partner for this project, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) aims to strengthen the protection of BSNP and engage with local communities to ensure that the park and its important river systems are adequately and sustainably managed. The twofold approach FZS is proposing is based on:

  • Implement the BSNP control and surveillance strategy: a stronger presence of park staff will ensure that illegal activities can be identified and halted before irreversible damage is done.
  • Update the BSNP Master Plan including participatory and transboundary management. This will allow all communities, governmental organisations, and civil society to be involved in the protection of this important protected area and actively contribute in the management of this national park.