Forty years ago in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, a group of conservationists, headed up by Inkaterra Founder José Koechlin, began a journey of research into biodiversity and conservation. Working under the name of Cusco Amazónico, this group’s dedication to research was the catalyst and founding steps towards the birth of our NGO, Inkaterra Asociación in March 2001.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Inkaterra Asociación (ITA) has worked as a non-profit organisation, working with numerous partners such as universities, Global Environmental Fund and National Geographic to pioneer scientific research for biodiversity conservation, education and the sustainable development of local communities.
Funded by the tourism generated with Inkaterra Hotels, ITA oversees and measures the company’s impact on its areas of influence: the Madre de Dios region of the Amazon rainforest, the cloud forest of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the City of Cusco and the Cabo Blanco Ocean and desert. From documenting new species, protecting the flora and fauna of Peru to working with the local people, Inkaterra Asociación is dedicated to improving the quality of life for every living being. The ITA team have worked tirelessly to protect over 15,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest as well as the ecosystems of Cusco’s cloud forests. Fifteen Years Of Success: With the support of over 200 specialists since 1978, including José Purisaca Puicón, ITA’s General Manager and Carmen Soto, ITA’s head coordinator, the NGO has succeeded in a number of important conservation projects. Success stories include registering 812 bird species at Inkaterra areas, which is equivalent to 93% of the bird diversity in Costa Rica!
372 native orchid species have been identified at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, which the American Orchid Society has recognised as the world’s largest collection found in its habitat. ITA has continued to secure permanent plot studies, a useful scientific tool that allows experts to study the natural processes in various ecosystems, uncovering the dynamics between flora and fauna species coexisting in a given habitat. Since 2012, ITA has established plots for research in its areas of influence, collecting data and determining conservation status. In 2015, a group of volunteers and forestry students supported ITA’s initiatives, assisting in the monitoring of palm tree diversity and other plant species as well as seed dispersion in the Amazon rainforest of Madre de Dios. A team of entomologists (experts in insect studies) have spent time researching and identifying 365 species of ant at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, a world record recognised by Harvard Professor E.O Wilson.
It’s not just existing species that ITA are dedicating time to tracking. To date, 28 new species to science have been found across the Inkaterra areas, including 19 new orchids, 4 amphibians, 1 butterfly species, 2 bromeliads and 1 tropical vine.
Popular with guests of Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, ITA’s Andean Spectacled Bear Rescue Centre is one of their most famous projects, with National Geographic recently publishing a short documentary on the project’s success in rescuing and rehabilitation Andean Bears.
Looking forward, ITA’s technical study gave justification to the creation and on going development of the Cabo Blanco project in Northern Peru, the country’s first marine reserve, which will see multiple research and conservation projects taking place over the coming years. To find out more about the ITA please click here.