Authorities Announce the Establishment of the Ausangate Regional Conservation Area in Cusco

By SPDA Actualidad Ambiental

This past Thursday, December 12th, the Supreme Decree 012-2019-Minam, was published, announcing the establishment of the Ausangate Regional Conservation Area in Cusco. This decision was approved by the Cabinet (PCM), and endorsed by the President of the Nation, Martin Vizcarra. The Ausangate Regional Conservation Area, or ACR Ausangate, will protect a number of important ice caps, including the Quelccaya – which is the most extensive tropical ice cap in the world, and forms part of the Ausangate mountain chain, considered a sacred mountain within Andean Cosmovision. This new ACR is the third established within Cusco, joining Choquequirao and Tres Cañones .

The area is located five hours from the city of Cusco, and spans across 66,514.17 hectares, spreading across the Ocongate, Pitumarca, and Checacupe districts, in the provinces of Quispicanchi and Cachis. The importance of this area goes beyond its gorgeous landscapes, and the immeasurable cultural wealth found in the traditions and customs of those who inhabit the area and its surroundings. The Ausangate area is home to mountains, glaciers, and lagoons that provide water to Cusco’s communities, and to the Machu Picchu Hydroelectric, which generates energy for Cusco, Puno, and the Apurimac.

The establishment of the ACR Ausangate will allow the conservation of local flora and fauna, it will develop actions and investigations towards the continual protection of glaciers, and it will reduce the vulnerability of local populations in the case of unexpected natural events and climate change.

According to the Amazon conservation ACCA, this zone is home to a variety of plants and animals, some of which are under the threat of extinction. The numerous fauna species housed in this area include the vicuña, the condor, the cougar, and the Andean mountain cat, as well as three endemic birds and one endemic rodent: the bearded mountaineer, the Poospiza Caesar, the rusty fronted canastero, and the silent pasture mouse.

This conservation initiative was born from the area’s local communities and Cusco’s regional government, and quickly got the support of organizations like the ACCA, the Andes Amazon Fund, the Peruvian Society for Environmental Rights (SPDA), and the Sernanp Resiliant Amazon Project (PNUD).

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