1. Why do you consider LT&C an important initiative and why are you interested in membership?
Napo Wildlife Center considers the LT&C initiative as vital for support of our conservation efforts and sustainable management of tourism projects. We believe this strategic alliance is essential to assist in the protection of the rich biodiversity in this region. The Yasuni National Park constitutes is known worldwide for its highly valuable and fragile ecosystem, which is currently threatened by such activities as oil development and logging. It is because of these threats to this region that the Kichwa Añangu Community is promoting ecotourism as a way to both increase awareness of the richness of this natural paradise in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the need to protect it.
2. Why is your case a good example of linking tourism and conservation?
The Añangu community, within the Yasuni National Park and hosted by Napo Wildlife Center, has been nationally and internationally recognized for their conservation and environmentally friendly work.The commitment of the whole community has meant that hunting, fishing and timber collection are now prohibited in this area. All activities are now focused on the protection of the environment. As evidence of the rich biodiversity inside Yasuní National Park nearly 4,000 species of plants have been recorded, with the possibility that this number will increase. A scientific report prepared for Yasuní registered 173 species of mammals (80 species of bats), 567 species of birds, 105 species of amphibians, 83 species of reptiles, 382 species of fish and more than 100,000 species of insects. The Anangu Kichwa community built the Napo Wildlife Center Ecolodge which borders the Añangucocha lagoon. The hotel opened to tourists in 2004. During the consolidation of the ecotourism project in mid-2007, the people of the Anangu community achieved became the sole administrators and managers of the Napo Wildlife Center.This hotel is visited by 3,000 tourists a year, most of them from Europe and the United States. Each group has a community guide and a professional naturalist guide translator able to provide information in the language of the tourist group. Without doubt, the main attraction of NWC is the incredible diversity of plants, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles
living in this important area. The decision of the Community to concentrate on tourism and conservation has had benefits for our community. Historically, the level of education in the population has been low: only 46% of the population had completed primary education, while 26% had not completed secondary education. The community assumed the project of encouraging continued education, thus preventing migration away from the community and increasing opportunities for the future. From here the community managed to increase high school attendance, and 2012 saw the first class graduate in sustainable technology baccalaureate with the main objective of sustainable community tourism. 50% of students belong to neighbour communities and the other 50% belong to Anangu community. The overall number of students is 136, including coast native pupils, Ssecoyas, Kichwa, etc. Education is free, covered mostly by the state, and supported also by the community.
3. Are there plans to further improve your example of tourism supporting conservation in the future?
Currently, the Kichwa Community Añangu has several projects, developing attractive activities for the visitors, enhancing their Amazon experience.
4. How could your example be transferred to another protected area and how could your experience be shared with others?
Currently, our General Manager, Jiovanny Rivadeneira, runs seminars for other indigenous associations sharing the Community’s experience on how the tourism project developed, in order to encourage replication of the success of the Napo Wildlife Center in other areas, and thereby highlighting the successful link between our conservation activities and sustainable tourism.