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Peruvian Government turns down road project next to Manú National Park

This is exciting news and a great success for conservation: In an official note the Peruvian Government halts a road project next to Manú National Park.

20 December 2015, Cusco, Peru. The Peruvian Government has rejected the initiative of a road construction in Madre de Dios in south-eastern Peru, which would have lead across one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions. The area encompasses large expanses of pristine forest in a series of national parks and indigenous reserves.


The course of the potential road would have irreversibly affected the biodiversity of the region, jeopardizing one of Peru’s most outstanding protected areas, Manú National Park, where indigenous people live in voluntary isolation, as well as Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

Gallery: Diversity of Manú National Park

On the 4th of December, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and President of the Council of Ministers, Pedro Cateriano, stated against the initiative.


According to the Peruvian Government the proposed road would cross buffer zones of protected areas and therefore the road “[…] could cause serious disorders in components of the environment as well as in the socio-economic aspects.” The Government also recognises the construction of the road would increase the risk of deforestation and could threaten the Mashco-Piro, one of the indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation.


In addition, the Peruvian Government also pointed out that the initiative did not take standard procedures and requirements into account, such as an approval by the National Authority of Protected Areas, SERNANP.


This strict denial follows the protests of local conservation organizations who have persistently campaigned against the road, highlighting the effects its construction would have on the environment and nearby ecosystems.


“We are extremely happy about this decision,” says Hauke Hoops, FZS Programme Manager in Peru. "FZS forms part of  a conservation network in Peru along with 19 other national and international NGOs. FZS participated in two meetings in order to join forces and to agree what our next steps regarding this road would be. As stated by SERNANP who opposes road constructions around protected areas without respecting the legal planning, the network expressed its support to the SERNANP position and wanted to make sure that planning of the road should have been legal. FZS signed a joint letter addressed to the Peruvian President, Ollanta Humala, which finally contributed to the statement of the Government rejecting the road initiative.”


FZS Peru Programme

The area of south-eastern Peru where the Andes mountains meet the Amazon basin is one of the most biodiverse areas on earth; Manú National Park holds world records for bird, reptile and amphibian diversity and the nearby Tambopata National Reserve for butterfly and dragonfly diversity. These areas safeguard important populations of threatened species such as the Giant Otter and Andean Bear, and are also home to some of the last remaining groups of people living a traditional nomadic existence who shun contact with modern society.


FZS started working in Peru in 1969 and supported projects on various threatened species over the next decades. In 1990 a detailed study of Giant Otter ecology began in Manú National Park and this evolved into an integrated park protection programme in 2002. Since 2005 the number of protected areas in Peru has continually increased. Today, more than 6 million hectares are under protection. Among others, FZS is working in Manú National Park, Alto Purús National Park and Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve.


FZS works in close collaboration with the Peruvian national protected area authority (SERNANP) supporting them in their work to protect these amazing areas.