Check out this great article by CIWY biologist Ingrid Bustos, published in IPPL News:
She gives an overview of the wildfire problem in Bolivia and the urgent need for change.
CIWY works all year long to help educate the public about responsible land management and wildlife conservation. Our staff and volunteers speak at conferences, workshops and in classrooms, to reach people of all ages.
We greatly appreciate the influx of donations during wildfire season - it makes a huge difference. The team is busy all year, however, maintaining the sanctuaries, patrolling for poachers and loggers (as much as our budget allows), and caring for over 500 rescued animals in our care.
If you can support CIWY's work with a monthly donation, you will help build up the stability that CIWY needs in order to put out fires as they arise (both literally and figuratively).
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Thank you for being a part of CIWY's important work.
The CIWY and FIWY teams
CIWY has survived another fire season, thanks largely to donors like YOU.
Sadly, this year saw fires encroach on Jacj Cuisi as well as Ambue Ari. Jacj Cuisi has always been safely outside of the danger zone during the Amazon fires, but it appears that is no longer the case.
In September an agricultural burn near JC got out of control and there were at least 5 sources of heat threatening the sanctuary.
Fortunately, we had the help of Oso, who has experience in fires, and the Jacj Cuisi team, plus the efforts of some of the Machìa team who were at JC due to the recent movement of the coatis and the tayra. They were joined by personnel from the Madidi National Park, others from the Management and Risk Unit of the Municipality of San Buenaventura (UGR) and soldiers from the Army. We were able to control and suffocate the sources of heat, however, the landscape after the fires is bleak.
At Ambue Ari, the team worked throughout September and October to control fires there. They spent days fighting 3 hot spots around the sanctuary in October, with no fire fighters in the area to help at that time. The volunteers and staff made a marathonic schedule to control the fires and after that, monitoring the zone to make sure there was no risk of reactivation.
This is a lot harder than it sounds, walking for hours into the jungle with dense vegetation, carrying water backpacks of 20 liters, sleeping for just a couple of hours every day, all while dealing with the fire risk and mental fatigue.
We are so thankful to our volunteers and staff who gave it their all to make sure Ambue Ari and the animals remained safe.
The increase in fires observed in recent years has been related to two factors: climate change and a government policy closely linked to the expansion of the agricultural frontier.
The climatic conditions have been changing. The onset of droughts comes much earlier, and they are increasingly prolonged, leading to burning much earlier, and for longer.
Burning is part of the traditional method of felling, clearing forests and preparing the soil for later use. This burning of grasslands usually begins in May and lasts until October, coinciding with the time of drought. In this period, both grasslands and forests are prone to fires, and although these often start as “controlled” burns, many of them get out of control, due to the amount of dry plant material that serves as fuel, and that, added to the strong winds, propitiate the ideal elements to cause large fires, which can reach points of very difficult access, leading to devastating effects on ecosystems and biodiversity.
For its part, government regulations are not clear in this regard, so burning continues to be carried out without control.
The consequences on wild animals are not only direct (displacement, burns, death), but also indirect, because an increase in poaching and illegal extraction follows as the deforested area grows.
During the fire season at Ambue Ari, the existence of poachers has been revealed on the Santa Cruz - Beni highway, and on adjacent trails and roads. Poachers can be seen waiting for wild animals to flee the fires onto the road, where they trap them to sell in the growing illegal wildlife market.
Although it is a long-term and arduous endeavor, CIWY seeks to safeguard wildlife from these growing threats. On one hand, it works to protect and rehabilitate the wildlife confiscated from illegal trafficking. At the same time, CIWY’s territory itself constitutes a refuge for thousands of wild animals that, each year, escape deforestation and fires.
Thank you for helping CIWY fund the equipment and resources needed to protect the sanctuaries and surrounding land. We will continue educating others and advocating for policy changes, with the goal of reducing fires before they start.
In solidarity and gratitude,
The CIWY and FIWY teams
Fire season is around the corner, and unfortunately, we can only expect worse wildfires in the Amazon every year. Last year you helped CIWY build 3 new wells along Ambue Ari’s perimeter and acquire more fire-fighting equipment.
We’re better equipped than ever to fight this year’s fires, but there are always costs. With low volunteer numbers, we will need to hire temporary workers to clear fire breaks and fight fires as they approach. This is usually an exhausting, 24-hour-a-day effort, sometimes lasting several weeks.
In 2020, we lost over 400 hectares to wildfire, and it will take many years to regrow the jungle and see wildlife return there. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again.
There are 2 easy ways you can help this month:
Thank you for protecting the wild jaguars, pumas, ocelots, tapirs, howler monkeys, giant anteaters, and so many others that live in the 987 hectares of Ambue Ari. None of CIWY’s work would be possible without supporters like you.
The CIWY/FIWY teams
La temporada de incendios está a la vuelta de la esquina y, lamentablemente, solo podemos esperar peores incendios forestales en la Amazonía cada año. El año pasado ayudaron a CIWY a construir 3 nuevos pozos a lo largo del perímetro de Ambue Ari y adquirir más equipos contra incendios.
Estamos mejor equipados que nunca para combatir los incendios de este año, pero siempre hay costos. Con un bajo número de voluntarios, tendremos que contratar trabajadores temporales para despejar los cortafuegos y combatir los incendios a medida que se acercan. Esto suele ser un esfuerzo agotador de 24 horas al día, que a veces dura varias semanas.
En 2020, perdimos más de 400 hectáreas por incendios forestales, y tomará muchos años volver a crecer la selva y ver regresar la vida silvestre allí. Asegurémonos de que esto no vuelva a suceder.
Hay 2 maneras fáciles en las que puedes ayudar este mes:
Gracias por proteger a los salvajes jaguares, pumas, ocelotes, tapires, monos aulladores, osos hormigueros gigantes y tantos otros que viven en las 987 hectáreas de Ambue Ari. Nada del trabajo de CIWY sería posible sin simpatizantes como ustedes.
Los equipos CIWY/FIWY
Thank you for contributing toward Ambue Ari’s protection from fire in 2021. We are so grateful to the 102 donors who raised $6,641. You helped CIWY install 3 new wells within the Ambue Ari reserve, making water more accessible to all areas. Wildfire can encroach from any direction, and with 983 hectares to protect, this was a very important improvement.
You may have noticed that we lowered the fundraiser goal by $30,000 and removed the need for a vehicle. This is thanks to an extremely generous donation from the Bolivian car company AUTOKORP, of a nearly new truck!
Also in Bolivia, Banco EcoFuturo made a substantial donation of 10,000 Bs. for fire protection supplies. And just last week the University Council of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón donated a “chata antiincendios,” a fire-fighting vehicle comprising a 1,000-liter tank, a motor pump, hoses and a towing system. Regular vehicles are often unable to penetrate the rugged terrain of Ambue Ari and its mountains, leaving us unable to get water and tools to some of the affected areas. With this new vehicle, we will be able to protect areas that even the pickup truck cannot reach.
Thank you for helping CIWY protect this vast area of pristine Amazon rainforest from wildfire. In 2020, over 400 hectares burned, but in 2021 our team managed to keep the fire out. You played a part in safeguarding the incredible species that live wild and free in this critical habitat, including the jaguar, puma, ocelot, tapir, spider monkey, and giant anteater.
It takes a massive effort each fire season, and unfortunately the Amazon fires only get worse each year, but CIWY is now much better equipped to continue protecting Ambue Ari and its wildlife.
All the best wishes for a safe and happy 2022,
The CIWY/FIWY teams
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