Proposal for the establishment of the Cerro Negro Nature Reserve

The Andean Tapir Fund is a 501 c 3 (EID # 88-0355275) in good standing and in existence since 1996.  It is dedicated to preserving and restoring all members of the Mammalian Order Perissodactyla, including all species within the Tapir, Horse and Rhinoceros Families.

The Mountain, or Andean, Tapir is classified as a fully Endangered Species by the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the president and founder of this organization is a member of this group’s Tapir Specialist Group and had done pioneering work to save this species, composing the “Status and Action Plan for the Mountain Tapir” that was published in 1997.

In addition to work in Ecuador and Colombia, for over two decades the organization has promoted the protection of a small but substantial mountain tapir population in northwestern Peru near the Ecuadorean border. In collaboration with native communities and conservationists, we have been successful in staving off the takeover of the Mountain Tapir’s last remaining occupied habitat by large international mining corporations.

We were instrumental in helping achieve a Citizen Referendum that rejected these proposed open-pit mines by 97% in 2005. We have also been instrumental in upholding Peruvian laws concerning the protection of endangered species such as the Mountain Tapir and many other similarly endangered, and also endemic species of both animals and plants that occur in this region, that is part of the ecologically famous Huancabamba Depression.

During the past month, massive citizen demonstrations have taken place in Ayabaca, Piura, Sullana and other population centers opposing renewed illegal attempts to force the massive open pit mining projects, particularly one known as Rio Blanco involving international mining cartels. This has involved tens of thousands of people. The Andean Tapir Fund has been very instrumental in organizing these demonstrations and maintaining the purity of their message and the integrity of those participating so that the natural values that are at stake, including the source watersheds of five major rivers, are not sold out. The latter would prove catastrophic for future generations of Peruvians and their largely agrarian way of life, which includes the growing of organic fruits and vegetables, including coffee, mango, guava, potatoes, and carob bean.

Attached please find a proposal for the establishment of the Cerro Negro Nature Reserve that has been endorsed by the Tapir Specialist Group and that would secure the future of the diminished Mountain Tapir population here, one that plays a very important role in naturally planting of a great variety of native plants, many endemic to the region and some even classified as Endangered, as is the Mountain Tapir itself. ATF’s president, wildlife ecologist Craig C. Downer would greatly appreciate your careful examination of this proposal with a mind to granting the basic support that will be needed to make it a reality. Please feel free to contact him with any questions of concerns regarding this proposal or related questions. Also attached is Craig’s recently updated CV.