For nearly two decades, the WCS has partnered with the Tacana to help strengthen their territorial rights and enhance indigenous management capacity. Thanks to their efforts and Gucci’s commitment to product sustainability and traceability, Tacana hunters now earn five times more for their caiman skins, which has helped reduce caiman poaching and illegal trade.
Painter will share insights from her decades of conservation experience in a talk entitled “Beyond Landscapes to National, Regional, and Global Stages
” at noon on Thursday, April 13 in Burke Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public.
For the past 17 years, Painter, along with her husband, Robert Wallace
, Director of the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program at WCS and Bass Fellow at F&ES, has worked in the Madidi-Tambopata landscape, an area spanning 110,000 square kilometers in northwestern Bolivia and southeastern Peru.The landscape encompasses both Amazonian rainforest and Andean mountains, with elevation rising from 180 to 6,000 meters above sea level. It’s a wild place, filled with some 12,000 species of plants, 1,100 species of birds (11 percent of the world’s total) and 300 species of mammals. At the heart of the landscape is Madidi National Park. Established in 1995 by the Bolivian government with support from WCS, Painter and Wallace were hired to develop conservation programs in the new park.
“The landscape is so diverse and was virtually undocumented when we first arrived,” Wallace said. “A lot of what we’ve done over the years is gradually chip away at describing what biodiversity is there.”
The Madidi-Tambopata is also home to 300,000 people and nine indigenous territories. Conflicts often arise between so-called fortress conservation and local peoples around agricultural development and livelihoods. For Painter and Wallace, conservation means attending not only to the recovery of endangered wildlife like white-lipped peccaries, tapirs, and jaguars, but also to the needs of people like the Tacana who live in this varied landscape.