GPE’s partnership in Peru is in its first year with the non-profit organization Esperanza Verde. Esperanza Verde is a conservation project in the Amazon basin focused on the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife as well as rainforest reforestation.
Officially recognized in 2014, the rescue center provides shelter and care for dislocated native animals.
It aims to release these animals whenever possible with due consideration to existing wild populations. Due to injuries and human exposure, some animals are physically unable to survive in the world or have lost their natural instincts. The center also boasts is own tree nursery, with the intent of planting various types of trees in the local forest to prevent the increasing deforestation of the Amazon.
This coming summer, GPE will send a team of four volunteers to live and work at Esperanza Verde. While there, volunteers are expected to work five days a week for approximately eight hours a day. Jobs include feeding the animals, preparing food, cleaning cages, doing construction work, planting trees, creating enrichment for the animals, cooking, and more.
Wildlife Rescue Center
Esperanza Verde was not originally a rescue center, but it began receiving animals from villagers who kept them as pets. It became an official rescue center in 2014 and continues to grow, continuously working alongside the local community to build enclosures or to help with plantation work. Now animals are also given to Esperanza Verde after being confiscated from illegal trade. Due to the rampant corruption and lack of control over the animal trade and deforestation, Esperanza Verde is determined to do its part to end illegal practices and encourage the return of natural flora and fauna to the area. Most animals that come to the center must live in enclosures or in semi captivity to survive. Esperanza Verde gives these animals a place to live out their lives in their natural environment.
Several enclosures have been constructed to house a variety of species, including an aviary, a tapir enclosure, a reptile enclosure, and monkey enclosures. The center eventually hopes to build its own quarantine and veterinary clinic.
Esperanza Verde’s second main objective is reforestation. The center has its own tree nursery to grow seeds and seedlings of wood and fruit trees for different parts of Selva Dormida, the local forest. By early 2016, approximately 3,000 seedlings have been planted in the jungle. The area owned by Esperanza Verde has grown to 180 hectares.The goal of this project is to preserve the existing natural trees and replace the large number of wood trees that have been felled in the area. Esperanza Verde is conscientious in planting native wood and fruit trees. GPS locations are noted when seedlings are planted to see their progression and impact over time.
Deforestation is a festering problem in humid tropics. In areas with a lot of poverty, local people cut down forests for wood or burn them down to create agricultural areas to earn money. Housing and road developments also aid in the problem, and this has resulted in the extinction of a few tree species. Deforestation encroaches on living area for wildlife. Selva Dormida is an ideal location for reforestation and has available water resources to make it sustainable.
Esperanza Verde Partnership Director
Megan Quinn is a third-year student at Florida State University. She is double majoring in History and Editing, Writing, and Media. Her favorite topics to study are the twentieth century, specifically World War II, and ancient civilizations. Megan joined GPE in 2014, serving as a general member, chair of member affairs, partnership director, and, starting next school year, director. Last summer, she was a volunteer with the Ghana Partnership, but chose to take GPE in a new direction and founded the Peru Partnership with Esperanza Verde. Outside of GPE, Megan focuses her time on work in the Department of History’s Institute on World War II and the Human Experience where she is an editorial assistant, reading and reviewing scholarly manuscripts that have the potential to be published. Currently she is pursuing an internship with Fordham University Press, and hopes to enter the publishing industry upon graduation.
About Esperanza Verde
Esperanza Verde is an NPO conservation project based in the Amazon basin of Peru. Its main objectives are wildlife rescue and rainforest protection. The founders of Esperanza Verde are a Dutch couple, Olivia Conrads and Douwe Bakker. They both studied wildlife management and graduated as animal engineers. Olivia and Douwe previously worked at amaZOOnico and Merazonia, two wildlife rescue centers in Ecuador. The couple was able to purchase land named Selva Dormida after hearing about illegal trade in the Ucayali area, and built their own rescue center and began reforestation efforts starting in 2010.