Paracas Reserve


Paracas National Reserve in Peru is home to several species of sea lions, otters, vast anchovetta schools, blue-footed boobies, Inca terns, pink flamingos, pelicans, dolphins and large stocks of scallops. The large reserve has been bolstered in recent years by a volunteer park ranger program, which brings in students to maintain the protected area, clean the beaches and provide outreach to nearby communities. Despite its many contributions, funding for this program is constantly in doubt. In 2000, Course graduate Cecilia Rivas, a biologist and now a professor at the San Ignacio de Loyola University, used skills she learned from CSF to demonstrate the value of the volunteers. She did a cost-benefit analysis and found that the $8000 annual investment in the volunteers produces more than $32,000 in benefits. The benefits are a combination of services to the protected area and education for the volunteers.

CSF subsequently supported Cecilia and the USAID-funded Biofor program in research on the benefits of conserving the guano-rich islands and points along the Peruvian coastline.