Creating the Huallaga-Marañon Community Landscape to Protect Endemic Primates in Northern Peru

Neotropical Primate Conservation was founded by Sam and Noga Shanee and Lizzie Cooke in 2007. It began as a non-profit organization and was awarded UK charity status in August 2009. NPC was set up in order to promote the conservation of neotropical forest habitat and all wildlife through various means. These include: land protection, research, improvement of degraded habitat for wildlife, creation of public awareness, environmental education, and facilitation of the commercialization of sutainable, ecological products on behalf of local people.

At the end of 2007, Neotropical Primate Conservation initiated a program to conserve the yellow-tailed woolly monkey. A preliminary survey was conducted and current projects are run in areas where yellow-tailed woolly monkeys were found in relatively high numbers. Work is ongoing between the Cordillera de Colán Nature Sanctuary and the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, forming a natural rainforest corridor between these two reserves. NPC projects include efforts to register substantial habitat with the Peruvian government as conservation reserves.

Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC) contacted Dr. Rob Horwich for assistance in development of the community conservation component of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey conservation program, and in arly 2009 Community Conservation began work on this project. The original focus of the project was to connect two protected areas, Cordilla de Colan and Alta Maya Protected Area, with a community protected area in the La Esperanza region. CC obtained a grant from the Margo Marsh Biodiversity Foundation to fund Horwich ’s work mentoring and consulting with NPC to promulgate community conservation methodology. Dr. Horwich traveled to Peru and from July 7 through August 5, 2009 he conducted a series of training programs for NPC, members of local NGO’s and community members.Beginnings Peru













CC helped NPC to expand the project that now works with 10 local communities to create a network of community-run conservation reserves within the Huallaga-Marañon landscape, a region of primate endemism somewhat isolated by the Huallaga and Marañon Rivers covering over 70,000 hectares. The project originally sought to protect the yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Oreonax flavicauda) and now also focuses on the San Martin Titi monkey (Callicebus oenanthe) and the Peruvian Night Monkey (Aotus miconax). The project aims to encourage communities to obtain governmental concessions to create a connected landscape of forests. In Peru there are two kinds of non-governmentally protected areas which the project promotes: 1) Private Conservation Areas on privately-owned lands and 2) Conservation Concessions on state-owned lands. The project has additionally pioneered a new third type of community protected area. Together with the Rhona Campesina, the largest and most influential grassroots movement in Peru, teh project developed a new model for the creation and protection of conservation reserves called "Areas Rondarils de Conservacion Ambiental" (ARCA - Spanish for "ark" and a fitting title for these conservation areas.) Through true community participation, conservation projects of this kind have great potential for generating awareness and protection of outlying areas on a landscape level. The first ARCA was launched in November 2012 (see for details).

Community projects include scientific census work within the proposed reserves, a reforestation program using native tree species that are beneficial to humans and wildlife, environmental education and NPC initiatives to assist the development of sustainable economic practices in the region, including the development of markets for native agricultural products and handicrafts made in the area.

NPC, with their Peruvian volunteers, have created a new NGO, NPC-Peru, which was registered in 2013 to carry on the work in the future with guidance from the Shanees and CC.

Landscape Map of Protected Areas

Above: A map showing the Huallaga-Marañon Landscape in Amazonas and San Martin, Peru, including community protected areas and other protected areas that the project works with.

Below: Peruvian community groups formed and other protected areas worked with (group/town number associated with map above)

Chart of Protected Area


Learn more about the Peru project and hear Dr. Horwich of Community Conservation discuss the project with Drs. Sam and Noga Shanee of Neotropical Primate Conservation (click link below).

Video: Conservation of the Yellow Tailed Woolly Monkey and the Cloud Forest of Northern Peru