For years the Amarakaeri communal reserve in northern Peru has been targeted for oil and natural gas extraction. Despite being a protected area, the ancestral lands of the Harakabut people, and one of the most bio-diverse zones in the world, the Peruvian government had approved a giant oil concession within the ecosystem’s headwaters and Hunt Oil began exploratory drilling in 2014.
Many Indigenous communities in the reserve have worked tirelessly to stop these projects from going forward, knowing all too well the environmental destruction that this kind of oil drilling can bring. Hunt Oil has announced they are pulling out of Platform A, where they had conducted initial drilling tests. They are now responsible for closing, cleaning, remediating and reforesting the area. Community members have teamed up with the Peruvian Service for Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) to monitor Hunt’s testing activities and will be following up on Hunt’s announcement.
While Hunt may still explore other areas in Amarakaeri, the lack of significant reserves of natural gas or oil in their first test site means that they may end up pulling out all together. This would be a significant relief and victory for indigenous communities who face immediate threats to their land rights from oil companies.
Rainforest Foundation US has been working with local indigenous organizations bordering the Amarakaeri Reserve on community mapping and monitoring, and to establish community-level participatory plans for the future of their lands.