Jacj Cuisi is CIWY’s newest Wildlife Custody Centre, located approximately 25km from Rurrenabaque, in the department of La Paz. Its 300 hectares border Madidi National Park, a 1.8 million-hectare reserve, lending to its serene beauty. We currently care for three pumas (Puma concolor) in the Centre.
The Centre is managed by permanent staff and international volunteers, who stay for a minimum of one week. The name Jacj Cuisi means ‘land of dreams’ in Mosetén and Tacana, two languages native in the area.
At the end 2008, the Municipal Council of Villa Tunari approved the construction of a road through Parque Machía, our first permanent wildlife centre. We knew that the road would destroy significant stretches of natural habitat and reduce the area of land usable for our work. In spite of international efforts that even saw the involvement of Dame Jane Goodall, the construction went ahead. At that time we thought it would be necessary to abandon Parque Machía, so we began to look for new land where we could continue our project.
In 2009 we purchased the land that is now WCC Jacj Cuisi. As luck would have it the owner of the land, Señor Benigno Gómez, was the father of our then vet, Verónica Gómez. He sold the land at a third of its valued price. Thanks to Señor Benigno Gómez and all those who contributed towards our land fund, especially FIWY and previous volunteers Peter and Penny, we were able to found a new centre; one which we plan to make our best yet.
A group of long-term volunteers led the very first efforts to establish the centre. Our neighbours, who are also relatives of Verónica Gómez, gave us shelter and food during the first arduous months. Slowly but surely we built infrastructure from the ground up. Due to emergencies caused by the construction of the road in Parque Machía, four pumas (Puma concolor) were transferred to Jacj Cuisi.
Currently we have a completed veterinary clinic, basic facilities, a compost waste system, a clay oven and a vegetable garden. The cages for primates and the quarantine are still the process of being built.
There are currently only three pumas (Puma concolor) at the Centre. We are waiting to complete the construction of the necessary infrastructure before we introduce any more animals to the Centre.
This practise which gives animals the ability to experience as natural an existence as possible, is essential to help ensure the mental and physical health of the animal. Many of the animals which are managed in this way have natural tendency to forage or cover large distances in search of food or territory. Being able to walk with a system of ropes allows them to enjoy a full sense of enrichment, where all five senses are stimulated while receiving exercise and a more varied living environment.
This system is adapted to the needs of each species, as well as the condition of each individual. It was developed to give more freedom to animals which cannot exist in a state of freedom or semi-freedom, whilst giving them all the care that an animal in captitivity requires.
With some individuals where it has been determined that is it not possible to have any direct contact with them, or that it will be safer for them to be kept separate from other animals, these are kept in individual enclosures. In the case of large felines, they have a large enclosure consisting of a management cage and double doors for safety.
As more animals arrive needing our assistance, the cost of their care increases and our expenses rise. More permanent staff and volunteers are needed. There are many ways in which you can help:
Friends of Inti Wara Yassi (FIWY) is our sister organization in the UK. They have been a major source of support since their founding in 2008. Find out more about FIWY here.
Quest Overseas organizes gap year trips for British and international students. Since 2001, Quest has worked with CIWY to bring much needed volunteers and funds. If you are interested in the programs they have with us, find out more here.