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GIANT OTTER PROJECT GOALS FOR 2013

                                       

As of January 2013, the project has received a significant grant from the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).  With FZS support, the Instituto Araguaia proposes to hire a field technician.  This technician will continue to monitor giant otters and other indicator species, gather data on poaching and trespassing incidents, and engage in outreach activities like informing park visitors about fishing rules and making presentations at local schools and other venues, using her/his work with charismatic species like the giant otter to convey the importance of protecting Cantão’s unique ecosystem.  In addition, we will use this grant to hire two guards/field assistants.  Along with a third guard that IA has hired with funding from ProCantão through the FUNBIO (Brazilian Biodiversity Fund), this will enable us to maintain a year-round full-time watch at the field station, which controls access to the core of the park, while at the same time supporting long-term field research by our staff and others.  Finally, the grant from the FZS will help us acquire a set of field equipment to complement what IA will make available to the project, which will enable us to broaden the scope and coverage of giant otter population monitoring, as well as gather data on other key species.


 

Specific objectives and activities planned for 2013


Specific Objective 1: Protection - reduce poaching and trespassing in the area around IA’s field station to insignificant levels, and use it to improve control of access to the park’s pristine interior.


Activities:


- Hire three guards/field assistants

- Maintain a full time year-round presence at the field station, controlling access to the core of the park

- During the dry season, perform regular rounds of 20 lakes around field station to deter poaching

- Record and report to park authorities poaching and trespassing incidents

- Work with park management to establish smart patrolling based on the patterns observed



Specific Objective 2: Monitoring – begin a long term monitoring program, focused on indicator species and human activities, and work with Naturatins to use the results to improve management of the park


Activities:


- Hire one field technician

- Perform an annual survey of the giant otter population between the field station and park headquarters

- Perform year-round weekly surveys of human uses (boating, camping, and fishing, legal or illegal

- Monitor the impact of ecotourism on indicator species once visitation begins in June 2013

- Monitor physical parameters of the park’s waters, such as turbidity and flood level

- Work with park management to use the knowledge gained to improve management of both visitors and the ecosystem



Specific Objective 3: Outreach – Increase public support for the protection of Cantão State Park using the giant otter as a flagship species


Activities:


- Approach fishermen in and around the park with leaflets with information on park and fishing rules

- Hold presentations at schools, fishermen’s associations, churches, and community groups at the three towns surrounding the park, using the giant otter as an ambassador to explain the importance and need for protection of the Cantão ecosystem.

- Produce interpretative materials for the park’s visitor center, using videos, pictures, and information generated by the project

- Host and guide scientists, students, conservationists, officials from government and financing agencies, and other special visitors who may generate support for the protection of Cantão

- Use the Web and social media to disseminate information about Cantão to a regional and global audience


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