How the Cofán care for their forest


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We Cofan must manage our forest and protect our way of life—this is how we do it!

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p. 1

how the cofan of zábalo care for their forest we cofan must manage our forest and protect our way of life this is how we do it cofan survival foundation ecuador in collaboration with the field museum chicago usa


p. 2

our cofan territory norte bermejo cayambe coca ecuador dovuno doreno cuy ab colombia o r iv en sucu mbi er c oc ar os zÁbalo aguari co river peru ive r napo river 0 10 20 30 40 kilÓmetros colombia ecuador cofán territory ecological reserves peru it is our duty to manage and use our forest in a way so that it is protected for future generations of cofan.


p. 3

why care for the forest because it is our heritage as cofan we cofan have always protected our forests so that we will have a better future for our children we cofan have lived in the forest for many generations but some powerful outsiders like oil and lumber companies want to take over and exploit cofan territory.


p. 4

but we must be strong as cofan our way of life is threatened oil drilling and colonization can destroy our forest and our livelihood when oil companies come in they build roads for heavy machines and pipelines these roads disrupt the forest attract colonists and destroy our forest resources.


p. 5

in sucumbios the colonists came and our forest disappeared this is how we cofan lived for many generations hunting fishing and living without many cares or worries our forest provided almost everything we needed the colonists followed the oil companies into the territory of doreno they cut down all the forest in a few short years and made fields where we once hunted.


p. 6

after the colonists came to doreno there was less game and fish as the forests around doreno were cut down many animals and fish disappeared due to over-harvesting there were smaller areas of forest for hunting colonists came and took what they wanted before there was plenty today people hunt for profit they take too much and there are few animals.


p. 7

what happened in doreno oil contamination poisons and garbage polluted our water and made many of us sick even the flesh of the animals we hunted tasted like poison oil wastes colonists fish poisons and farm pesticides and garbage from the growing town of lago agrio contaminated our rivers and tainted the flesh of our fish and game.


p. 8

our way of life in doreno became more difficult hunger and sickness spread as animals decreased and pollution increased we saw our friends and family suffer from hunger when they could no longer hunt enough game they grew sick from poisoned water and food.


p. 9

what happend in doreno the colonists transformed the land and we cofan became more like colonists as the colonists around doreno turned the forest into farms some cofan began to change their traditional ways they no longer hunted or fished but lived like the white people in lago agrio 9 there used to be a lot of forest now there are only pockets of forest left lago agrio doreno canqque shushufindi ag uar icona e coca a napo n e satellite image of doreno in 19 lago agrio doreno canqque shushufindi ag uar icona e coca a napo n e we had to work live in the city and buy our food rather than hunt and grow it in the forest we grew apart from our traditions satellite image of doreno in 199


p. 10

10 what happened in doreno some us fled from doreno to zábalo deeper into the forest some cofan families wanted to live a healthier and more traditional way of life to escape the problems of doreno a group of cofan moved far down the aguarico river to the intact forests at zábalo.


p. 11

how do we use the forest in zabalo in zábalo we get everything we need from hunting fishing and gathering everything we need comes from 11 the forest we use hundreds of plants for food medicines and construction of houses and canoes we hunt many kinds of animals and we fish in the rivers because of the forest we are not dependent on outsiders for most of what we need.


p. 12

1 how do we use the forest in zabalo tourism is an important way of making money without destroying the forest people who live in foreign cities have never seen forests like ours for many years we have made zábalo a friendly place for these tourists they pay us to show them the animals and plants of our intact forest this way we can make money without destroying the forest.


p. 13

how do we use the forest in zabalo scientists from outside want to learn about our forest and help us protect it scientists are experts who want to learn more about the forest they have paid us to help with their research they have paid us to try new ways of caring for the forest they have also told many people about how we care for the forest university students have come here to study woolly monkeys curassows whitelipped peccaries and other animals other researchers have come to learn about river otters and harpy eagles 1 organizations like n the field museum usa n fundación natura ecuador n gtz germany and the n international development bank have helped to support our efforts to save the turtles that live in our rivers.


p. 14

1 how do we know that animal populations are changing to care for the forest we must know how our use affects the forest nobody knows how many animals are in the forest but we know that the number of animals changes to care for the forest we must keep track of how much we hunt and the changes we see.


p. 15

how do we know that game populations are changing we hunt and use forest resources every day every day we cofan go out on the rivers and into the forest as we go about using the forest every day we learn many things the catfish are finally coming upriver we should be able to catch them now looks like the peccaries have returned from upriver and are now back inside our territory 1



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