On December 2015 the Ashaninka from Apiwtxa got together to discuss the land monitoring activities for the year. The Ashaninka will increase the number of expeditions in their territory as a result of the methodological and technical support they are having from the Extreme Citizen Science initiative and the financial support from the National Development Bank/Amazon Fund project.
In 2015, 13 Ashaninka monitors developed an application for the protection of their territory and were trained in using it on Android smartphones to monitor their land. Also, in 2015 the Ashaninka had a project approved by the Amazon Fund which is supporting their land protection and sustainable management activities. The project is financing the construction of 3 surveillance points in strategic areas of the indigenous land, equipped with a radio system and a boat, and is supporting monitoring trips around their territory.
During the meeting they discussed which areas of the indigenous land are more vulnerable at each time of the year, and also their needs in terms of equipment to carry out the expeditions. They also planned to have meetings in other small villages of the indigenous land in order to inform the communities about the monitoring activities for 2016. So, on January 4-5 a team of Ashaninka representatives went to two of the small villages where the surveillance points will be built to hold the meetings.
Just after that, between January 9-16, the Ashaninka did the first monitoring expedition of the year, in the River Arara, which is one of the frontiers of the indigenous land. This time of the year is marked by invasions of illegal hunters in that area, who travel along the Arara River and enter the indigenous land searching for wild game. When the team of 5 monitors from Apiwtxa arrived in Arara village, they first carried out the meeting with the community, showed them the monitoring tool and told them about the surveillance infrastructure that is going to be built. On the following day, the 5 monitors and more 6 community members from Arara village started the expedition along the Arara River, towards the Peruvian border.
Along the way, the Ashaninka encountered two ilegal hunters. They stopped them and explained that they are not allowed to hunt in the indigenous land. After that, they confiscated the game they had on the boat and told them to leave the area. During this monitoring trip they also stopped in the neighbouring non-indigenous communities to inform them about the intensification of the monitoring activities and reminded them about the prohibition to extract natural resources from the indigenous land.
The synergy between the Extreme Citizen Science land monitoring project and the Amazon Fund Project looks very promising for the future of the protection of the indigenous land.