For over a decade, Chicago’s Field Museum has been working with the Peruvian government to create a national park 22 times larger than the Windy City itself. Finally, their efforts have paid off: a large portion of the Sierra del Divisor mountain range has just been granted national park status, making 3.3 million acres of Amazonian rainforest untouchable to those looking to profit off its resources.
The extent of the biodiversity of the land will likely never be known, but in just the last 15 year,s The Field Museum’s research on the area has led to the discovery of 20 species of previously unseen plants and animals. The area is home to birds, mammals of all sorts, frogs and reptiles, and countless plant and insect species that will no longer face harm by growing industries. Additionally, the area’s currently uncontacted, indigenous Iskonawa group will be left alone. Previous threats to the land’s integrity – threats that continue against other areas – include logging operations, coca plantations, mining, and oil drilling industries.
A collaboration has been in the works for many years between The Field Museum and indigenous people in the area for the purpose of establishing this milestone in conservation. Corine Vriesendorp, the museum’s MacArthur Senior Conservation Ecologist and Director of the Andes-Amazon Program, stated, “This is not a one-person effort, this is the culmination of ten years of numerous organizations working together—that’s how you make conservation happen.”