The Conflict Mitigation Program stops Andean cat hunting by developing ways to reduce the conflict between local people and large carnivores. Pumas and culpeo foxes kill livestock and in retaliation local herders hunt all carnivores, including the Andean cat. We are working closely with local herders implementing non-invasive mitigation strategies, like breeding and training guard dogs, installing deterring lights and improving existent corrals. Guard dogs obtained by crossing traditional protecting breeds with local dogs that are adapted to the extreme weather, are by far the most effective mitigation technique. These techniques alone will not be sufficient to improve the image of smaller carnivores in the communities, so we are also using art to increase awareness amongst the whole community about Andean cats’ relevance and conservation
The CATcrafts program provides alternative income sources to local communities of the high Andean region, instead of the polluting extractive alternatives. While using traditional handcrafting techniques we protect and celebrate the local cultural identity of the communities that share their habitat with the Andean cat, while empowering women by enabling them to generate alternative incomes for their families. This innovative solution creates, for the first time, an economical value for the Andean cat and their traditional culture, what transforms the artisans into conservation ambassadors.
The global genetics program will complete the information gaps in the global distribution map of the Andean cat, while assessing the potential impact of diseases and parasites on Andean cat populations. This will guide more effective conservation interventions.
The Modular Education Program is an innovative approach that will unify multiple educational strategies being implemented in different programs. Its main goal is to go beyond raising awareness of Andean cats among local communities. We want to equip everyone —AGA staff, park rangers, teachers and communities alike—with the skills to be educators and communicators, so they too can teach others about Andean cats and the importance of conserving them. The development of this tool will transform everybody in the perfect multiplicator agent, expanding knowledge far and wide.
For certain communities of the Andes, the major economic activity is gold extraction using traditional techniques. These techniques are usually highly dangerous, directly impacting wildlife, polluting water and soil, as well as affecting miners and their communities. Luckily the international certificates of “Green Gold” and “Fair Mined Gold” provide a great opportunity to reverse these impacts, by increasing the net value of gold extracted using sustainable techniques. We are working in coordination with Wildlife Conservation Society–Bolivia and other institutions to develop and implement specific actions for the conservation of the Andean cat and its habitat, that includes having “biodiversity” as other criteria required for obtaining those certificates.
"In the Field 24/7”
The use of camera traps for research and conservation has gained great relevance in recent years, mostly with elusive animals such as the Andean cat. Camera trapping is a non-invasive and powerful tool that allows us to record behaviors and other vital information about Andean cats, which we are then able to use to generate awareness about the cats and the threats affecting them. AGA´s camera-trapping project aims to register the Andean cat in locations where there are no records of the species, allowing the development of proper monitoring and conservation strategies. This project will be equivalent to having several groups of researchers in the field 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.