Chaparri is the site of Peru’s first wildlife rescue centre designed specifically for Spectacled Bears. Andean Bears are classified vulnerable with only 2,500-10,000 estimated remaining in the wild. Seven bears that have been confiscated from illegal captivity are currently housed in large semi-wild enclosures that provide the bears a stimulating natural environment in which to live. Visitors may visit some of these enclosures with a local guide and watch bears in their natural habitat and learn more about these threatened animals. Chaparri also receives a selection of other rescued animals (Ocelot, Andean Condor, King Vulture, Military Macaw recently) which occur in the area and these may also be seen.
We are awaiting confirmation from Rob Williams visit to safari zoo to discuss future role
It all Began with Yinda…….Bears kept as pets, attractions in restaurants and performers in circuses is all too the norm in South America. In 1998, 3 month old Andean Bear cub Yinda was discovered in a cornfield belonging to Juana Diaz, Mrs Diaz took the bear and raised her as her “4 legged daughter” for 18 months. Yinda was encouraged to swim rivers, climb trees, explore her surroundings and generally “be a bear”. Whilst loved, Yinda was a wild bear and, like many bears kept as family pets, became difficult to handle.
The Peruvian Government was looking to confiscate Yinda, Heinz Plenge (wildlife photographer) and Bernie Peyton (Bear Biologist) were also aware of the case of Mrs Diaz and Yinda and concerned with the lack of any facilities to care for rescued or confiscated bears and ultimately were concerned with where Yinda would end up. With the support of the Peruvan Government they began on a journey to create a state-of-the-art facility to care for Yinda, and many others like her.
Chaparri’s coastal dry forest location was chosen for the facility as the habitat supported a wild bear population in mountainous terrain that ran from desert sands at sea level to cloud forests. In addition the 3,000 villagers of Santa Catalina de Chongoyape and surrounding communities were keen to be involved, were well organised and had legal title to their own land, totalling 42,000 hectares, only 250 Hectares of which was cultivated and most of which was already inhabited by bears. It was also the place where Heinz and Peyton witnessed their first wild spectacled bear in 1977.
In November 1999 Yinda, Juana and Heinz made the 2 day journey in a rental truck to a farm who had agreed to be part of the development and work began on the construction of a large enclosure for Yinda in the Chaparri Hillside. The hope was for Yinda to educate local residents in the value of bears and reduce hunting casualties, the long term goal was to reintroduce species that had been lost from the areas in previous years (white-winged Guan, Condors and Guanaco). Some fence parts and insulators later Yinda’s 5 acre enclosure was complete, including wild foods.
Yinda and Juana arrived in Chaparri, Yinda was introduced to her new home and adapted to her new freedom quickly, climbing trees and bathing in the rock pool. Her favourite place was right by the old mango tree full of juicy fruits. Juana camped in a tent during the time Yinda was adjusting to her new environment, during which time the local community adjusted to Yinda too! During a flood Yinda managed to wander from her enclosure into the neighbouring forests, local communities gathered to help recapture Yinda showing an already changing attitude to the bears. Juana bade a tearful farewell to Yinda during this time.
In May 2000, Yinda was released into the dry forest of Chaparri in northern Peru, she was seen some months later accompanied by her very own cub!
Chaparri Target for One Year;
Our initial target is for food for the bears. Additional funds raised over the £1000 for Chaparri will be passed for veterinary suppliers and improvements.
- Food £1,000
- Veterinary Supplies £250
- Maintenance and Enclosure Improvements £1250
£2.73 Feeds the Bears for one day
£17.11 Feeds the Bears for one week
£81.90 Feeds the Bears for one month