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Our goal is to collect the ecological data needed by the Peruvian government to proactively manage the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary to protect spectacled bears and their habitat. While the presence of spectacled bears has been documented and monitored at Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape since the 1980s, there is no current data available on the health, ecology, or threats to these bears.

 Tourism is the main economic activity in Machu Picchu with visitor numbers increasing every year to visit the famous Incan ruins or hike the Inca Trail - 10,000 people per day visit the ruins, and 500 people per day are allowed on the Inca Trail, plus their guides and support staff, which averages an additional person per hiker. In partnership with local Indigenous communities and the Peruvian government, we aim to address threats posed by potential human-wildlife conflict in this highly touristed and culturally significant area by implementing activities that will measurably curtail the drivers of deforestation and habitat degradation (thus mitigating the impacts of climate change) and strengthen the management of this protected area.

Through this project, we will:

1) Undertake field research to understand the health, population trends, and habitat use of spectacled bears in and around the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary, to identify the threats to bear survival that must be mitigated with urgent conservation action;

 2) Train park guards on bear monitoring protocols and scientific data management;

 3) Conduct workshops to empower local Indigenous communities with conservation knowledge and information on local biodiversity, and build an understanding of their traditional knowledge and use of the area;

 4) Provide training on mitigating wildfires with local Indigenous communities, which is a growing threat in this area as the climate changes. This approach is modeled after our successful implementation of this wildfire mitigation training at our main study site in northern Peru.

Our travelers can fund this project through a microdonation when they buy a policy.Watch this video to see how those funds will be used to conserve spectacled bears and preserve Machu Picchu’s biodiversity.