Members of Peru’s Masenawa community used technology to stop illegal gold miners in the Madre de Dios region of the country.
“Communities are the natural guardians of the Amazon,” Rosa Baca, of Peruvian indigenous group Federación Nativa del Rio Madre de Dios y Afluentes (FENAMAD), said in a statement. “Technologies like ForestLink are helping indigenous peoples to protect the rainforest from illegal mining, even in areas outside their titled lands.”
The Indigenous group used an app called ForestLink to document and alert authorities of the presence of an illegal gold mining camp and by extension eliminated the disturbance of the biodiverse Amazon location.
Members of the Masenawa community sent the evidence by satellite link to FENAMAD.
Peruvian Government’s environment police responded to the tipoff and destroyed the hideout and detained five people suspected of setting up the illegal camp, near the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, with heavy-duty machinery.
“What this intervention shows is the power of harnessing technology for social good and putting it in the hands of local people, who are on the frontlines of the fight against deforestation,” Andean Amazon coordinator, Aldo Soto, said.
ForestLink allows people in remote communities to send alerts and evidence of threats to the forest, including illegal mining and oil spills, to law enforcement agencies, even from areas with no mobile or internet connectivity.
Madre de Dios is one of the country’s richest repositories of biodiversity in Peru – home to several nature reserves, including the Manu National Park.
According to an IC report, about 30,000 illegal miners took up residence in the region, in 2015, and had collected US$15 billion worth of gold between 2003 and 2014.