Today I read the latest ARCAS Annual Report (2017) and was pleasantly surprised by the good news it contained. Central America has a wonderful biodiversity but it is a troubled region with logistical challenges ranging from exploding volcanoes to organised criminal gangs involved in wildlife and forest crime.
ARCAS (asociaciòn de rescate y conservaciòn de vida silvestre) is Guatemala’s leading wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organization with dedicated local staff and local and foreign volunteers and student interns working to help care for wildlife that has been rescued from the domestic and transnational illegal wildlife trade. They are also running a sea turtle conservation program on the Pacific Coast with sea turtle hatcheries and environmental education and volunteer activities.
ARCAS’ effectiveness is very much due to the dedication of their staff and collaborative work with partners in law enforcement, Parks authorities and domestic and foreign donors and volunteers.
Please do read the report for the details of their activities in 2017 which in summary include:
- the intake of 238 species of wildlife to the ARCAS rescue centers, many of them endangered
and rare, all of them precious to the ecology,
- the completion of installations for the rehabilitation of small felines and carnivores, an area removed from humans where they can learn to hunt and adapt to the wild.
- the improvement of habitats for the pumas and jaguars that cannot be rehabilitated
- the training of 57 students from twelve North American and European universities in Wildlife Medicine and Conservation in Guatemala courses with ARCAS. See the poster on the right.
- participation in the Colores project on the Pacific coast, protecting Yellow naped amazon (Amazona auropalliata) parrots as a flagship species to conserve the last remaining wild animals and places on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
In 2017 COLORES carried out parrot-monitoring and nest protection, environmental education, and public outreach
in support of anti-trafficking activities.
- working together with the San Carlos University, CoNAP, HSI and local NGos, to draft and present animal welfare legislation that was passed by the Guatemalan Congress. The report states that “For the first time, Guatemalans have the legal means to denounce acts of cruelty to animals, not only domestic pets, but also wildlife and livestock.”
- Together with the newly-formed Animal Welfare Unit of the MAGA and Animal Defenders International, ARCAS is working to transport over 50 circus animals to appropriate sanctuaries in Africa and the US.
- With the support of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Disney Conservation Fund, this year ARCAS expanded its installations at the San Lucas office and built new enclosures to hold the increasing numbers of animals that it is receiving there, improving their overall well-being and supporting wildlife trafficking enforcement efforts.
- ARCAS is participating in the project “Forestry management and Protection (FMAP) System for Tackling Illegal Logging” funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) International Partnership Programme (IPP).
ARCAS is to work with Guatemalan partners, including the CoNAP, DIPRoNA, the Public Ministry (MP), the National Forestry Institute (INAB) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA) to:
– Reduce land crime through increased land use change detection with a higher temporal resolution to provide intelligence to enforcement agencies;
– Upgrade existing traceability systems through the addition of space-based data and GNSS mobile applications to support better forestry management and tackle illegal activities;
– Increase the efficiency, impact and scalability of the forestry incentive programs by reducing the costs of surveying, monitoring and land-use verification in the current systems.
This is delivered by a consortium of international technology companies led by Edinburgh-based Astrosat.
This is an impressive body of work and we wish ARCAS the very best of luck with their endeavours.
ARCAS is always interested in being contacted by potential volunteers and donors, so if you think that you can help, please don’t hesitate to contact Development Director, Colum Muccio
Asociaciòn Rescate y Conservaciòn de Vida Silvestre