Nature and Culture International, in conjunction with government leaders and an endangered indigenous group in the Peruvian Amazon Basin announced today the formal declaration of a 970,000-acre rainforest reserve in the Loreto Region of northeastern Peru. The Maijuna Reserve is 22% larger than California’s Yosemite National Park, and consists of a vast forest wilderness, part of which is home to the indigenous Maijuna people, who number fewer than 200 adults and their children.  

The act declaring the area was ratified by the Loreto Regional Council and announced by Ivan Vasquez, Regional President of Loreto, at a ceremony in the remote native community of Sucusari. The proposal to create the reserve was prepared by the Regional Government Program for the Conservation, Management and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Loreto (PROCREL), in cooperation with Nature and Culture and the Maijuna People. 

This new declaration designates the 970,000 acres of primary rainforest for the conservation of both biological and cultural diversity and adds to two adjoining reserves, creating a combined protected area of more than 4 million acres.  

Nature and Culture International (, PROCREL and their collaborators, with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Blue Moon Foundation, have worked with the Maijuna communities since 2008. The Field Museum conducted the biodiversity assessment that supported establishment of the Regional Conservation Area. Research professionals from the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and George Mason University conducted ecological and socio-economic evaluations of key natural resources. The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy ( will partner with Nature and Culture International and the Maijuna People to develop and implement the conservation management plan for the new reserve.  

“Congratulations to the Federation of Native Maijuna Communities (FECONAMAI) and its president, Romero Ríos Ushiñahua, and to president Ivan Vasquez and the Loreto Regional Government – for taking action to conserve this remarkable Amazon rainforest,” said Ivan Gayler, founder of Nature and Culture International, an organization known for the productivity of its on-the-ground conservation model. “With the addition of this reserve, Nature and Culture International has been directly involved in catalyzing the protection of more than 8.7 million acres of tropical forest in Latin America – where we plan to conserve at least 25 million acres more during the remainder of this decade.” 

Maijuna leaders, recognizing the growing threats to their culture and the forest that sustains them, are committed to preserving their language, cultural traditions and natural environment. This commitment motivated their request for assistance to protect the rainforest that is their homeland. 

Nature and Culture International is dedicated to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. It has offices in the US, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru and provides financial resources and local expertise to advance the conservation of threatened ecosystems that have among the highest levels of species diversity on the planet. 

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. In partnership with Nature and Culture International, the zoo will identify ways to apply its research to the development of sustainable patterns by the Maijuna People. 

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