The Yaku Nawi Project_

Since early 2023, Fishipedia and the Akangau Expeditions team have been collaborating to conduct comprehensive work on the aquatic fauna of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The project aims to conduct fauna inventories and deepen the knowledge of species in this still poorly studied region.

Efrain, Kichwa guide of Akangau Expeditions
Misael Cerda, founder of Akangau Expeditions

The objectives of the Yaku Nawi project

To preserve aquatic ecosystems, it is essential for us to promote sustainable resource management while raising awareness among local populations about the risks to aquatic biodiversity.

We also seek to engage with local stakeholders such as wildlife sanctuaries and zoological parks to conduct in-situ conservation efforts. We are collaborating with scientists to publish the results of this upcoming investigation, hoping that it will be useful for implementing sustainable wildlife management measures in the region.

As part of this project, our teams (Akangau and Fishipedia) are also working on developing tourist routes focused on discovering aquatic biodiversity.

Ecuadorian Amazon: A Biodiversity Hotspot

Ecuador is one of the main hotspots of aquatic biodiversity. The country is home to around 1000 different species of fish. In comparison, neighboring Colombia, which is four times larger, has 1500 species, and Brazil, 32 times larger, has 3200 species. While the Ecuadorian Amazon area represents 2% of the Amazon basin, at least 870 of the 2700 recorded species are found there.

Chaetostoma microps

The Yaku Nawi Project and Science

Pedro Jiménez Prado is conducting the first complete inventory of species present in the Ecuadorian Amazon with the ultimate goal of publishing several reference books. He and his team support our approach and accompany the project to validate the information and taxa. We will contribute as much as possible to the collection of specimens needed to carry out the identification and description of new species in the Tena region. We have also received support from Pablo I. Argüello, curator of the fish collection at the Biology Department-MEPN and Raphael Covain, « an international expert in Siluriformes working at the Natural History Museum of Geneva.

Action Zone of the Yaku Nawi Project

The Yaku Nawi project focuses on the ecosystems in the Tena region of the upper Rio Napo. This area encompasses a wide range of habitats, from mid-altitude streams to muddy streams and rivers of the intermediate Amazon.

The location is ideal because it is situated between the clear waters of the torrents of the Andean foothills and the generally less transparent wide rivers that flow through the rainforest. During periods of favorable weather, it is possible to capture rare photographs when the waters of the latter are crystal clear.

Yaku Nawi Project area

The species under study

Isorineloricaria aff. Margay
Moenkhausia sp.
Hoplias malabaricus
Ancistrus sp. « caramelo »
Parodon buckleyi
Creagrutus amoenus

During the first three months of the project, nearly 50 species have been photographed in their natural habitat. Among them are numerous characids, cichlids, and siluriformes. Several species are not described at this stage, and some could be unknown to science.

In addition to fish, we are working on crustaceans, amphibians, and mollusks in the region.

The importance of communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Traditional communities play a crucial role in the current preservation of the biodiversity of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Their sustainable way of life and deep connection with nature contribute to protecting the region’s unique ecosystems.

As part of this project, communities are directly involved in the development of ichthyological knowledge of local species. Our teams aim to inventory the fauna and promote a holistic approach to conservation that combines scientific expertise and traditional knowledge.

Technologies and organization.

To structure ourselves, we are developing a model for naturalistic inventory management on Notion. We also share some of our observations on the iNaturalist website.

Fishipedia supports Akangau by providing equipment (such as the Olympus TG 7 camera, masks, and snorkels) and financial support for remote expeditions. The Fishipedia team creates content in various languages about the different photographed species and participates in training community members.

The project partners.

The Yaku Nawi project is supported by JBL, which provides equipment (microscope, aquatic lamp, water test kit). Every year, JBL organizes expeditions to the countries of origin of aquarium fish and terrarium animals to collect information on their natural habitats and study their behavior. Nature enthusiasts can join JBL’s research team on these expeditions.

The project also receives financial support from our partner Anthias.

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