We fully understand that our presence in Yasuni combined with education and investigation efforts are not enough to guarantee the future of this unique region. Therefore, we are involved at various other levels in order to spread the word about what is special about Yasuni and why it deserves more attention and optimal strategies. Interaction at every level is an invaluable part of a process that is meant to get more sectors on board to aid in conserving this natural treasure. The intention is to ensure that its full potential may be appreciated more widely and utilized in truly sustainable ways. We are working toward magnifying the participation of all stakeholders in the region so that current short-term extractive operations do not overshadow or eliminate long-term possibilities for other sectors such as community-based ecotourism.
We understand that development in the area may indeed provide resources in the form of space and income needed at present but insist that the potential for other resources, possibly not understood or quantifiable at present, may far outweigh those in the coming years. It is our position that there must be a balance between humans and nature. We sincerely believe that future generations will either applaud our efforts to save a maximum proportion of the region in its intact form or will forever curse us for having been so myopic as to allow the world´s greatest biodiversity hotspot to be lost bit by bit through selfish negligence.
TBS serves as an official guard post for the Yasuní National Park. We are proud to be part of the system that protects this reserve. Our presence provides constant vigilance in a remote sector that would otherwise only receive occasional visits. Our regular travels along nearly 40km of the river serve to patrol the area ever conscious of illegal activities such as poaching or timber harvest. We have also participated in workshops for the development of park guards.
River Turtle Nest Project
For several years, we have collected turtle nests for their protected incubation within the confines of the station. Due to unpredictable flooding on the Tiputini, many nests are lost to natural disturbances. Before indigenous people started to harvest these eggs for local markets, Podocnemis populations could sustain their numbers but with these two complications combined, risks were coming to be insurmountable. Now, a program has been instated that actually pays indigenous collectors to rear turtles in captivity for subsequent release and this has substantially changed the level of risk to local populations of P. unifilis. Podocnemis expansa still requires special attention due to extremely low numbers in this part of its range.
Camera Trapping Project
An ongoing collection of digital photographic images of large mammals and ground-dwelling birds provides information about habitat use and abundance. These images are invaluable to conservation due to the fact that they provide tangible evidence of emblematic species that are otherwise difficult to observe. Thereby, we can document the quality of the ecosystem in our area and develop stronger arguments for its proper management and protection. Long-term monitoring provided through this program can also allow evaluation of populations over time. Such data may lead to understanding how or why fluctuations occur.
Repatriation of a threatened species
During several years an experimental operation for the ranching of black caimans near the town of El Coca maintained dozens of these animals in captivity for the purpose of producing meat for local consumption and skins for international markets. In the end, the project proved not to be financially viable and the owners decided to dismantle the business altogether. The big question was what to do with all the caimans that were maintained at their facilities. Due to their status, conservationists wanted to see as many individuals as possible returned to their native habitats. TBS worked to have several of the animals repatriated to our region in remote Yasuni where they would have good possibilities to survive and reproduce.
TBS directors are members of committees that interact frequently for the continual improvement of situations associated with the Yasuní National Park and Biosphere Reserve. Our participation at this level includes meetings with governmental, industrial and indigenous representatives so that perspectives on the future of the region’s resources may be shared and interpreted