Increased Presence of wild Animals Outsid of Protected Areas

Due to the obligatory isolation, the animals protected in the natural areas have decided to venture out and search for new lands.

As a scene of a Hollywood movie, in different parts of the world animals have taken the streets and have even entered to some houses in the midst of confinement due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This phenomenon is not strange in Peru. Andean bears have been sighted in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu – near the Inca citadel – vicuñas in the buffer zone of the Pampa Galeras National Reserve, as well as cougars and jaguars prowling around the communities near to the Manu National Park.

Precisely these animals are some of the species threatened by perverse activities such as illegal hunting. Thechief of the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp), Pedro Gamboa, explained that by not noticing the presence of human beings, the animals have begun to leave these spaces in order to explore the surrounding sites and have even reached several urban areas.

“It is not that there are more animals, but that their presence is more noticeable now, since they are approaching territories where there are no people. Before we did not see them because we occupied the spaces that naturally belong to them, ”he indicated.

Ernesto Escalante, head of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, indicated that the greatest sighting of the so-called flag species, such as the spectacled bear, is a sign that the other animals are also well. “These animals inform you about the health of the ecosystem. If there is a presence of the Andean bear it is because the forest is healthy, “he said.

Escalante added that this species is used to touring large territories, so the 37,000 hectares of the said sanctuary are actually a small space. Despite that, the bears avoid contact with people, who are mainly concentrated in the Inca citadel.

Another protected natural area (ANP) where animals breathe a greater aroma of freedom is that of Nor Yauyos Cocha, in the Sierra de Lima and Junín. Here the fauna has begun to occupy some spaces where the practice of extensive or disorderly farming was common.

“The vicuñas, tarucas and deer competed with the livestock for the pasture. However, the work of surveillance and control of park rangers ensures the protection of these animals, “said Abdías Villoslada, head of the landscape reserve.

In the case of Pampa Galeras, the first national reserve in the country that houses nearly 4 thousand vicuñas, it has been recorded that they have decided to go to areas where there was usually a lot of vehicle traffic. For example, they are frequently observed on the Interoceanic Highway.

Likewise, the Andean condor is another species that is not being disturbed by human presence in this area.

Although the greater presence of animals outside the ANP contributes to better management of these spaces, Gamboa hopes that it will also allow people to understand the negative impact that certain irresponsible actions have on biodiversity.

“Being able to appreciate fauna in less imagined places, being able to breathe cleaner air, among other things, I think makes people make a greater commitment to behave properly and live in harmony with nature.

He also highlighted the work of park rangers in the zoning process, with which it is a matter of carefully choosing spaces for visitors where there is little impact on the area and from where its biodiversity can be observed.

Finally, Gamboa explained that the confinement has hit tourism in the ANP hard, since they are among the 10 most visited sites in the country. “The resources generated by these spaces are not only a source of income for their conservation, but also help create jobs for local populations,” he said.

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