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Solvay: Peru: A paradise in Peril

[The following is the second of a three part series on Solvay resident Dr. Charles Mango and his efforts to conserve the Amazon and the people of Peru]

[Conservation effort and local tribes]

With all of the universities coming to the area, Mango felt that the area should be made into a reserve, so that the studies could be done in a nice area. He started working with the nearby Jaldar tribe, about a mile and-a-half from the facility.

"Jaldar was a good place to start because the governor of Jaldar, Milton, was working for us at the time," Mango said. "Together with Cornell, Milton and I, we set up a reserve. We had the entire village surveyed and mapped, which had never been done before. In exchange for this, Milton gave me about 45,000 acres if land on the other side of the river from us."

The land included about four or five lakes and is a varzia forest. There was to be no illegal hunting, fishing or logging on the property, which Mango found out early on that it was a difficult thing to enforce.

"Natives of the area felt that all of the land was theirs to use. Logging we were able to control, but fishing and hunting became a problem. We had professional fisherman from larger cities that would camp out for a week and set up nets. It was becoming more and more of a problem."

Mango wanted to create a reserve "with teeth in it." He needed the villages along the Yarapa: Jaldar, Puerto Miguel, and Neueveo Loreto to get on board with the conservation laws.

"I had to get these villages titular titles for their property, which means that they actually own the land that they're on," Mango said. "This was a first for the Amazon, it had never been done for anybody. By saying they actually own it, they can keep people off of it. I did this all on my own. This has taken about a year and a half, everything had to be surveyed again, and it all had to go through Lima. Its like pulling teeth to get anything done down there."

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