WCS Bolivia has started actions towards improving pasture management, in order to conserve a critical habitat for biodiversity and improve local livelihoods through vicuña management. The aim is to strengthen the technical capacities of vicuña fiber managers and herders of domestic camelids -from 18 communities of Apolobamba National Natural Area of Integrated Management (ANMIN)- in the sustainable management of about 100,000 hectares of native pastures and 1,400 hectares of Andean peat lands and wetlands. These actions will make it possible to reduce/avoid overgrazing, one of the main problems caused by inadequate use of natural resources, as well as improve water management, since the loss of glaciers due to climate change has caused a decrease in water levels. Likewise, the improvement of pastures and bogs will favor nutrition of more than 12,000 vicuñas and will contribute the reduction of the current prevalence of mange and other parasites.
To date, in partnership with the National Service of Protected Areas (SERNAP), progress has been made in conducting vicuña censuses in Apolobamba ANMIN and in Sajama National Park, as well as supporting the planning process and implementation of the vicuña fiber shearing campaigns with the local communities.
In order to monitor mange incidence and other parasitic diseases in vicuña populations, biological samples from 170 animals were obtained during the shearing campaigns in five communities of Apolobamba ANMIN and in three communities of the Pampa Tholar de las Vicuñas Municipal Natural Area of Integrated Management. Samples are still being analyzed in laboratory, and results will help to assess the current health conditions of wild vicuñas and contribute to the adoption of measures in order to ensure conservation of pastures, peatlands and wetlands.