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Meeting launches protected areas monitoring program in Chile

Researchers have been using camera traps to monitor Andean Cats in Northern Chile for the past 12 years. Last week conservationists, including GWC’s program manager of Wild Cat Conservation, Jim Sanderson, met at Universidad Católica de Temuco in Chile to launch a monitoring program for the country’s entire system of protected areas (SNASPE). Jim presented on camera trap data processing, the methodology researchers use to process camera trap data. The new monitoring program will help conservationists understand what species live in the protected areas, how they move through the protected areas, and help answer other valuable questions about the wildlife present here.

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From Maximiliano Sepúlveda, Head of the Planning Department at the national protected areas system of Chile at CONAF:

“Over the course of four days in the heart of southern Chile, in the city of Temuco, more than 500 people met at the first Congress of the National Protected Areas System of Chile (SNASPE). Scientists, park rangers, public servants and local and international NGOs participated in the country’s most successful meeting related to the conservation of protected areas. The meeting covered multiple topics, including planning, monitoring and the importance of establishing participatory processes with local and indigenous communities. Conserving biodiversity and cultural attributes in these extensive territories, which represent 20 percent of the Chilean country, is certainly complex.

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Dr. Eduardo Silva, Andres Bello University, presents a talk on what’s needed for a monitoring program. (Photo by Jim Sanderson)

The first protected area in Chile was created in 1907. Today the SNASPE is represented by 101 protected areas divided into National Parks, National Reserves and Natural Monuments. In order to manage and conserve this landscapes, Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) oversees these protected areas with the presence of park rangers, but we need more people and support in the field. A key component of conservation success is the participation of relevant actors with similar interests. The role of academia or NGOs, for example, is critical. They can provide scientific information to help us make better decisions, or can offer innovative ideas that include better technology to conserve biodiversity.

Monitoring biodiversity is a challenge that needs to be addressed in order to demonstrate to the broader society our success or failure conserving the SNASPE. Many of the threatened species are elusive, rare or live naturally in low numbers, and camera-trap monitoring is a key methodology implemented in the SNASPE.”

About the Author

Lindsay Renick Mayer

Lindsay Renick Mayer

Lindsay is the associate director of communications for Global Wildlife Conservation and has a particular interest in leveraging communications to inspire conservation action. Lindsay is passionate about species-based conservation and finding compelling ways to tell stories that demonstrate the value of all of the planet’s critters, big and microscopic.

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