Written by Shivani
In May this year, thanks to the support by the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), I had the good fortune and privilege to visit the Spectacled Bear Conservation (SBC) Society project in Peru. SBC has just been named one of the newest additions to the WCN partners network and so I was delighted to be able to meet them, learn about their work and share conservation experiences.
Located in northern Peru, SBC are off the beaten track, a sharp contrast to the busy, touristy areas of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The passionate, dedicated SBC team, led by their inspirational founder Robyn Appleton, could not have been more welcoming, open, and keen to show me the work they are doing.
During my visit, I met Felicita, a lovely lady who leads SBC’s livelihood programmes who welcomed me into her home in the small mountain village of Incawasi. Felicita reminded me of one of our Mama Simba ladies, and we spent many hours swapping stories about her work and the work done by the Mama Simbas.
With habitat loss being an urgent threat to the bears, the SBC team is forging ahead and working in new areas and creating valuable partnerships. I was able to see these new areas of work and witness the dedication and strength of this inspiring team – which reminded me of my own own team in Samburu. The SBC team, in turn, were keen to learn about the work of Ewaso Lions, our community and research programmes, and about Samburu.
On my return to Samburu, I shared the large number of photos and videos I had taken with the Ewaso Lions team. Robyn had filmed a few video clips for the team providing details on bear habitat, the challenges of collaring bears and explained at length some of the hardships of fieldwork which I witnessed firsthand.
The value of such exchanges is immense – there is so much we can learn from each other and I returned home excited with what I had seen and learned. Our team was fascinated and learned a lot from this sharing of knowledge and information.
Although I was not lucky to see a spectacled bear while I was in Peru, having searched for hours through rocky terrain, I wasn’t too disappointed – after all it gives me another reason to once again visit SBC in the not so distant future!
Thank you for your hospitality SBC – we hope to welcome you to Samburu some day soon. Ashe Oleng!
> Visit their website at www.sbc-peru.org
All photo credis: (c) Spectacled Bear Conservation Society.