Museum Paraguay field work postponed

05 July 2011

Funding for a scientific fieldtrip to study wildlife in the Dry Chaco region of Paraguay has been reallocated, the Natural History Museum announced today.

The Museum suspended the trip last November on the request of one of its partners, the Ministry for the Environment of Paraguay, who decided to undertake further consultation with the Ayoreo people indigenous to the region.

The aim of the field work was to work with Paraguan partner organisations to study wildlife in two protected areas in the Dry Chaco, which is the largest dry forest in South America and part of the continent’s most extensive forested region after Amazonia.

'The Museum remains keen to explore the biodiversity of Paraguay with our Paraguayan partners, but cannot hold last year’s funds indefinitely due to the way these were raised from the public,' says Professor Phil Rainbow, Museum Interim Director of Science.

‘The Natural History Museum has now had to reallocate the funding reserved for the project and we plan to invest the funds in other fieldwork.'

The project has been on hold since the Ministry decided to further consult with the Ayoreo people before proceeding with the visit.

‘The Museum supports this approach,’ explains Prof Rainbow. 'The concerns of uncontacted people as well as other indigenous communities are extremely important to us.

‘We believe that a survey to scientifically record the richness and diversity of the animals and plants in this remote region is fundamental to the future management of this fragile habitat for all concerned'.

'The Museum will work with our Paraguayan partners to secure new funding when we are all in a position to work in these areas of the Chaco.'

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