THE BEAR, THE FLAME AND THE BUTTERFLY, THE ANIMALS IN THE HISTORY OF PROMETA

Mariposa “Morpho helenor prometa”

The butterfly is the “Morpho helenor promises” a subspecies of Morpho helenor, discovered and described in 2011 by researchers Yubinca Gareca and Patrick Blandin in the Tarandan subandino, in the far south of the department. It is a beautiful butterfly with details in greenish and purple color on an almost black background and its size ranges from 10 to 13 cm wingspan. The scientists decided to name their “promises” not only in thanks to PROMETA for having supported their scientific work, but as a recognition for their contribution to the conservation of biological diversity in Bolivia. In this way the country and Tarija had the honor to count in their territory with the discovery of a new subspecies and PROMET to appear with his name in the scientific registers.

It must be remembered that PROMETA began more than twenty years ago the conservation of the Tariquia and Sama Reserves. Redelimito investigated them, supported the development of their communities and provided them with a system of protection that worked properly. Towards 2002, once the State created its own protected area agency, SERNAP, PROMETA handed over the administration of the areas, not only with all existing infrastructure, but with funds that guaranteed its operation for several years. In the next period, the organization supported the creation of more than thirty conservation units throughout the country (national, departmental, municipal in all departments) and carried out such significant work as the Department of Protected Areas Department Cruz, the most important in Bolivia.

Productor de Yuticancha, Yunchará con la llama campeona nacional

The second animal in the history of PROMETA is much more common: I mean the “Lama glama”, which we all know as Llama. Just as PROMETA’s work with national protected areas culminated, a strategy formulated jointly with the communities and the municipality of Yunchará determined to boost their repopulation in the Tarijeño highlands. At that time the excess of donkeys and sheep was killing the native pasture of the area (the legs of both species are hard and harmful, unlike those of the Llama). In about ten years, a herd of 300 specimens was changed to about 12,000, with the number of donkeys (almost extinct) and sheep decreasing. The llamas chapacas, thanks to their high quality began to win the biggest prizes in national fairs (before the astonishment of the traditional producers). But beyond these recognitions the biggest prize is to be able to see a preserved highland prairie and the local community with a new productive alternative.

Oso Jucumari (Tremarctos ornatus)

The third animal that now defines the history of PROMETA is Tremarctos ornatus, the Jucumari bear. A project undertaken by this organization and the Chester Zoo in Great Britain has been able to photograph a specimen of this species and its offspring for the first time in Tarijean territory (at least in the last three or four decades) doubt exists that exists in the department of Tarija (the previous evidences presented were indirect: leathers and testimonies). In this way Tarija can recover and increase its natural heritage and Bolivia reduce the vulnerability of this species threatened by the disorderly growth of the agricultural frontier.

The success of the project led by biologist Ximena Velez Liendo has earned her the Whitley Award, one of the most prestigious in the world to be announced on May 18 in London and delivered by members of the British royal family. In this area, it is also correct to highlight the support work of the conservation department of PROMETA, led by the biologist Claudia Oller, another of the tarijeñas professionals who for years has promoted research in the ecoregions of Tarija and Bolivia, reaching a wide prestige national level in the area.

The bear found is “Mendeño”, “Sanlorenceño” and from now on it will become a symbol not only of the region, but of the whole department.

With the encounter of “Jucu”, we are a little richer; we recover our nature and we have the challenge to create the conditions so that it continues reproducing in harmony with the human beings (difficult thing in the practice when being a big mammal). Surely we will achieve this if we join the wills of institutions, state and, above all, local communities.

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