Sustainable use of spectacled caiman (Caiman yacare) is an initiative of the Matusha Aidha Association, which is carried out in compliance with a management plan for the species and the regulations established by the National Program for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Spectacled Caiman, led by the General Directorate of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (DGBAP). It has the technical and scientific support of WCS and the coordination of the
Indigenous Council of the Tacana People (CIPTA). The initiative aims to strengthen territorial management in the Tacana I Indigenous Territory based on environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives through: 1) maintenance of viable caiman populations and protection of wetlands by controlling illegal hunting; 2) development of actions focused on improving the livelihoods of the communities; and 3) accessing niche markets that value management actions developed by indigenous communities.
In 2018 the 11th caiman harvest campaign was carried out with the participation of 14 caiman managers (2 men and 12 women) from the communities of Carmen del Emero, San Antonio del Tequeje, Villa Fatima, Copacabana and Cachichira. A total of 870 kg of meat from 150 individuals were extracted, a number less than the allowable extraction quota, which were sold in first-class Gustu and Jardín de Asia restaurants. In this harvest year, for the very first time, the product is on sale in the Hipermaxi supermarket chain in La Paz, with the necessary sanitary registry from the National Agricultural Health Service (SENASAG). It is a fundamental step in the marketing strategy of caiman meat, since it allows reaching differentiated markets and offering products that come from indigenous initiatives based on the sustainable management of natural resources and the conservation of wildlife.
On the other hand, the direct sale of caiman meat without intermediaries allowed for the increase of the economic benefits of the caiman harvesters that participated in this year’s caiman harvesting campaign, generating revenues higher than those received in previous years, which were distributed according to the distribution system established by CIPTA.