Interview with environmental activist Victor Zambrano on his work protecting the Tambopata National Reserve in Madre de Dios

The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that travel and tourism’s “total contribution” to Peru’s GDP will exceed 11% by 2026, but how well, in the long-term, is Peru protecting its best tourist assets? Among foreign tourists easily the most popular destination in the country’s lowland Amazon region is the 274,000 hectare Tambopata National Reserve (TNR) – yet it currently stands invaded by gold-miners.

The TNR is in the Madre de Dios region in the south-east of Peru. Over 632 bird species, 1,200 butterfly species, 103 amphibian species, 180 fish species, 169 mammal species and 103 reptile species make it one of the most biodiverse places in the world, according to the Environment Ministry, but those numbers don’t compare to the gold-miners. According to Victor Zambrano, president of the TNR’s Management Committee and the recently-announced winner of the 2016 National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation, there are 8,000 miners in the reserve itself and more than 35,000 in its buffer zone.

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Environment