In 2013, the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) supported Community Advance Association in partnership with the Traces Association into establish a community ecotourism project in Bolivia. Located in the country’s largest national park, the ecotourism project has led to an increased sense of environmental stewardship and is now the main source of livelihood for the local communities involved.
The Kaa lya National Park covers roughly 3.5 million hectares and is located in south-eastern Bolivia. It is the largest national park in Bolivia and is rich in fauna and flora, including a large population of jaguars.
The poaching and wildlife trade problem
Species affected Jaguar Panthera oncaProducts in trade
Jaguars are hunted for their claws, teeth and skin for international markets.
Overview of the problem
Although hunting jaguars is illegal in Bolivia, weak law enforcement and high prices for parts such as teeth from international buyers have led to increased cases of poaching.
The anti-IWT initiative
The GEF SGP supported Community Advance Association (in partnership with the Traces Association) to establish a community ecotourism initiative focused on guided wildlife observation in the Kaa Iya National Park, which has a healthy population of jaguars.
The purpose was to generate environmental and economic benefits for the local community, who received technical assistance to improve their capacity in ecotourism management.
Increasing incentives for wildlife stewardship
Has the initiative made a difference?
The ecotourism project resulted in community members being represented and participating in the Kaa Iya National Park management committee. The active involvement of the community enhanced their sense of ownership and increased their interest in conserving the park’s biodiversity. This reduced pressure on the environment as ecotourism became the main source of livelihood.
What works and why
The active participation of the community in the management committee and in the development and implementation of a park management plan was essential in strengthening an environmental governance structure that met the needs of the community and local wildlife.
Factors for success
Devolved decision-making power so local communities have a voice in creating or co-creating solutions (as part of the initiative)
Organisers, donors and partners
The project was funded by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme
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