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We Want to Live!

- Acorema starts the Campaign “We Want to Live” in the Pisco-Paracas Region of Peru -

Pisco-Paracas, Landau, 21 July, 2010

The Peruvian natural protection organization Acorema (Coastal and Marine Resources Protection Organization) has started its campaign “We Want to Live”. Under commission from Sphenisco, natural protectionists and scientists from Acorema will be campaigning for the protection of the Humboldt Penguin and its habitat.

The ocean along the coast of Pisco-Paracas is a hotspot of biodiversity. Not only approximately 1,000 Humboldt Penguins live here on islands near the coast, but also many species of birds, numerous whale and dolphin species, sea turtles, and sea lions. Because of the diversity of the species here and the density of the differing species’ populations, the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas Peninsula, with a surface area of 335,000 hectares, was declared a sea and land natural protection area by the Peruvian government back in 1975, and became known as the Paracas National Park. In 1985, the Paracas National Park was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

As varied as the species in this area are, so varied as well are the dangers that the Humboldt Penguin and other marine species are exposed to. Just as in Chile, the main causes for extinction are overfishing of the ocean, the trapping of penguins and other species in gill nets, and the contamination of the sea. In Peru there are additional dangers for the Humboldt Penguin, including the illegal keeping of penguins as pets and mascots, the illegal catching and consumption of the penguins and their eggs, the legal extraction of guano from the breeding islands, and fishing through the use of dynamite. All of this accumulates to an enormous potential for extinction.

“We Want to Live” is the distress call of the people and creatures from one of the poorest regions of Peru. Even today the people here suffer from the results of the earthquake that happened in 2007, when 2/3 of the buildings in Pisco were destroyed. For example, there are still schools there without electricity. The purpose of the campaign is to increase the awareness of the natural resource destruction that continues to be practiced in the area, and to show that with that destruction, the livelihood of the people is destroyed as well. With simple wording and catchy media (flyers, stickers, and puppet shows), the members of Acorema will turn to children and adults, in order to show them the interrelation between the destruction of the environment and the livelihood of the people, and to promote alternatives.

Werner Knauf

“We are not pets, exhibits, or food.”


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