Support cutting edge research, receive a delightful Peruvian woolly hat!
The ProjectWe are an exciting team of British and Peruvian early career ecologists travelling to the Sira Communal Reserve in the Western Amazon, Peru. In March 2015 we will embark on six weeks of field work in a challenging environment to survey the amphibian communities of the Sira across an elevation gradient and, with your help, use camera traps to set up a monitoring grid for the critically endangered Sira Currasow (Pauxi koepckeae).
Very little is known about this enigmatic species, and our survey will be the most comprehensive assessment of its distribution, activity cycles and population size performed to date. The information will be critical for assessing the current status of the Sira Currasow population, and with repeated sampling in future years, will allow us to determine if the population is growing, shrinking or remaining stable through time. But the benefits do not end there, the camera traps will also capture images of the little known mammals of the Sira. If evidence of the presence of species of conservation importance are detected, such as the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) or Short Eared Dog (Atelocynus microtis), it would be a lend weight to increasing the protected status of this unique area.
Why We Need You
To date, we have secured funding from the Royal Geographical Society’s Neville Shulman Award to cover the core expedition costs. We now need you help to raise funds for 30 camera traps for our monitoring grid. The initial £2000 pound target will cover the purchase of the first ten camera traps of the thirty required to complete the monitoring grid. If we rapidly reach this goal our stretch targets will allows us to expand the monitoring grid, cover a wider geographical area and thus improve resolution of the data obtained.
The Cerros del Sira of central Peru is a high altitude satellite of the Eastern Andes. Its isolation, separated from the Andes by 60 miles of lowland rainforest and the Rio Pachitea, lends the range a unique floral and faunal assemblage.
Parts of the Cerros del Sira form high altitude “islands” of habitat which, like patches of land surrounded by water, are completely isolated from the similar habitat within the main Andean chain. A recent expedition to the region concluded that climate warming had driven bird species an average 50m higher than they were detected in 1969. Whilst such elevation changes may not be of dramatic consequence for species residing in low-level well connected habitat, tropical species residing in isolated ranges such as Sira Currasow will be put under pressure due to their suitable habitat shrinking in size.
The driving forces behind this project are Andrew Whitworth and Christopher Beirne. We have recently completed our PhD theses in Ecology and Conservation at the University of Glasgow (UK) and University of Exeter (UK), respectively. We are both incredibly passionate about the Amazon rainforest, and collectively have over 8 years experience working there. To help us achieve this project’s goals, we have recruited Ruthmery Pillco Huarcaya, a Peruvian botanist and primatologist currently studying the least known primate in the wild (the Peruvian Woolly Monkey). Three further Peruvian guides/scientists will be recruited to complete the team.