Every month, TiME’s newsletter will feature people who are on the frontlines of habitat preservation, who share TiME’s underlying belief in our responsibility and ability to save the natural world. This month, we spoke to Drs. Noga and Sam Shanee. The pair founded Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC)—the organization leading one of TiME’s approved conservation projects—in 2007 and have been living and researching in northeastern Peru ever since to conserve local rainforest and wildlife.
How did you become involved in TiME?
Noga was a student at the Arava Institute, under Alon Tal and Uri Shanas. Since then, we have been conducting our own research on primates and habitat preservation when Alon and Uri contacted us and asked us to become involved in TiME. We loved the idea of the organization, so we were thrilled to be among the first organizations to work with it.
Why do you think it is important to donate to TiME?
TiME gives money to organizations that directly affect their local areas. TiME allocates its money to organizations like our own (NPC). We, in turn, take that money and use it to benefit the habitats and the community in which we live and work.
What makes TiME different from other environmental organizations?
TiME’s money goes directly to buying land in biodiverse areas. In turn, this helps organizations like ours continue research. The area in which we live and study is threatened by logging and mining. We run the risk of losing the species and habitat in which they live. By buying the land, we not only protect biodiversity but ensure a cleaner, healthier lifestyle for human residents.
What have you been working on lately?
When we first arrived here [in Peru], we performed a census of monkeys in the area. Just last year, we repeated that census and found a 30 percent increase in the monkey population. This increase is due in part to our help in rebuilding the tree nursery in the area with native trees, ensuring healthy and sustainable growth for the forest. We have worked to get over 11 thousand hectares of land categorized as protected since we arrived. In addition to studying the habitat and local monkey population (specifically the yellow-tailed woolly monkey), a large part of our work is to involve the local community in conservation. We have agreements with local schools and universities to train teachers who want to focus on environmental education. By being based in the community, we can have a more direct effect on protecting the land. Not only that, we have the opportunity to involve the local population. We see ourselves as an alternative to the slow pace of government conservation work. There is strength in numbers. With the community working alongside us, we can better guarantee a future for all the region’s inhabitants: humans, animals and plants.
Photograph by Sam Shanee