Caiman sustainable harvest

Spectacled caiman harvest activities in the Tacana Indigenous Territory began in 2001 with studies on the distribution, abundance and population structure of the spectacled caiman in water bodies of several communities in the Tacana Indigenous Territory (TCO Tacana I), executed by WCS in coordination with CIPTA. A management plan was developed using the information obtained and approved in 2007 by the Biodiversity and Protected Areas General Directorate (DGBAP), constituting the technical guideline for the harvest of the species.

The management plan identifies harvesting sites such as lakes, ponds, streams and sections of the Beni River, and non-harvesting sites like the small lakes and yomomales (water bodies covered by aquatic vegetation) as caiman breeding sites. The approved annual harvest is for 524 adult males (with a snout-tail length greater than 180 cm) as defined in the framework of the Bolivian regulations.

So far, there have been four spectacled caiman harvests: 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The indicators of the first three harvests (as the information of the last harvest is still under analysis), such as time spent hunting, average capture size and selection of water bodies, show that in general the populations of spectacled caiman are maintained with an annual extraction rate of 524 adult males.

A key aspect for the sustainable harvest of spectacled caimans was the conformation of a productive association called "Matusha Aid'a" formed by 23 members of the Tacana communities of Cachichira, San Antonio de Tequeje, Carmen del Emero, Tres Hermanos, Copacabana and Buena Vista. The association is part of a larger association called “Animalicuana” that includes all the wildlife management initiatives in the Tacana Indigenous Territory, which is under the responsibility of the Secretariat of Natural Resources of CIPTA. The organization system of the Tacana people has been a key aspect of the spectacled caiman harvesting process, contributing to strengthening the territorial management of the Tacana Indigenous Territory.

Through the contracts subscribed between CIPTA and Walisuma and Sayari enterprises, Matusha Aid’a Association has sold of 803 square feet leather tanned and finished (color and brightness) of the 2006 square feet obtained in the 2010 harvest. This is laying the foundation for a marketing strategy to ensure the long-term sustainability of the spectacled caiman entrepreneurship in the Tacana Indigenous Territory.This has been possible through the support of the National Program of Conservation and Sustainable Use of Spectacled Caiman of the General Directorate of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (DGBAP) of the Vice Ministry of Environment and Water.