Punta San Juan Program

 

The Oceanarium is a partner of the Punta San Juan Program and will be fundraising throughout 2022.

THE CAUSE

Punta San Juan (PSJ) is a 54 hectare peninsula located on the southern coast of Peru, it is protected by a 1.2 kilometer concrete wall. PSJ is one of the 33 sites a network of sites called: “Reserva Nacional Sistema de Islas, Islotes y Puntas Guaneras” that protects marine biodiversity and stands on the shoulders of the 150+ year old management system of seabird guano  promoted by the Peruvian government.

Punta San Juan (PSJ) supports important populations of emblematic seabirds of the Humboldt Current, such as Humboldt Penguins, Guanay Cormorants, Inca Terns, Peruvian Boobies and Peruvian Pelicans. As well as pinnipeds, such as South American fur seal and South American sea lion. All these species breed and rear their chicks and pups in PSJ, and feed in areas close to the reserve that have nutrient-rich waters due to the upwelling ecosystem of the Humboldt Current System. These species are biological indicators and help us understand the variation of ecological factors over time. The population, behavior and reproduction of these species reflect what is happening in the marine ecosystem.

PSJ is home to Peru’s largest colony of Humboldt penguins, reaching over 7,000 birds in the past 10 years. Here Humboldt penguins nest on the guano layer that has not been harvested since 1987. This substrate is ideal for Humboldt penguins providing important properties that enhance breeding success (thermal regulation, independence in burrow, protection from predators, amongst others). The proximate location of this protected area means cold and nutrient rich waters where penguins feed. This provide's a suite of conditions that are preferred by Humboldt penguin populations.

The Punta San Juan Program (PPSJ) is a long term field research program. For more than 30 years, the PPSJ has carried out research and monitoring of the resident populations in PSJ. They operate on site year round and do monitoring, research, environmental education, capacity building  and community engagement.

CAMPAIGN AIMS

  • Since 1980s researchers working in collaboration with Punta San Juan Program investigate how top predators adapt and respond to the dynamic conditions of the marine environment off the coast of Peru. They have contributed with 80+ published scientific articles on the biology, ecology, behavior and health of resident wildlife species. PSJP staff serve on various conservation committees to update the status and include recommend key threat mitigation in species management plans to help conserve these species along the Peruvian coastline. 
  • Since its foundation, capacity building has been at the forefront for PSJP. For many years, research assistants, interns and volunteers have been an important part of our teams helping PSJP collect information and samples in the field while being trained. For example, in the past 7 years, they have trained 58 people in the field as volunteers and interns. Although Covid-19 restrictions have slowed these activities down, they will reactivate them when restrictions permit. 
  • Counts, sample collection, following marked individuals, collection information on reproductive behavior are some of the main activities that the on-site personal for the Punta San Juan Program do on a daily basis. This information is analyzed to understand the population dynamics, trophic ecology, population health and breeding success of resident marine mammals and seabirds.
  • PSJP has implemented different projects that involve the local community of Marcona to learn about the biodiversity in their “backyard” Punta San Juan reserve so that they can be local care takers of it. Educational guided tours, events at the  community level and activities with schools have all been a part of this between 2013-2018.

OCEANARIUM PARTNERSHIP

Punta San Juan Program operates thanks to the support of zoological societies from around the globe that want to contribute to conservation in the wild. Since 2000, the sponsorship from zoos and aquariums are the driving force behind the conservation efforts at Punta San Juan Program. Partner institutions participate in planning and support the core operations of Punta San Juan Research Station. Their funding covers the annual budget and employs the PSJ Program staff, a qualified team of Peruvians who are committed to conservation of the wildlife at this amazing protected area. 

Bournemouth Oceanarium is fundraising to be a partner institution in 2022! This is essential to the PSJ Program operations. Due to the economic impact of Covid-19 our budget for our basic operational funding was reduced and they no longer have a paid position for a Field Assistant, for example. They hope that with more partner institutions like Bournemouth Oceanarium, they will be able to recover funding to be able to recover this very important position. Information on how you can help fundraise will be available soon. 

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