Macusani’s backdrop is the Carabaya Mountain Range, principally theAllinccapac and Chinchiccapac glaciered peaks. These two mountainsreach close to 6,000 metres above sea level. Glacier runoff provides mostof Macusani with abundant water. Macusani, Puno Carabaya province, Peru Photos by Annie Bungeroth
Peru’s glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate because of globalwarming.
“We spend several weeks aterm talking about globalwarming and the effects itwill have on us,” saidCarlos Enriquez, teacher atthe local school.“Our students are alreadyaware that there is apossible water crisiscoming if nothing is done,”he added.
There is some concern that uranium mining could have an impact on thequantity and quality of water. Problems over water are the main flash pointsbetween communities and extractive companies throughout the Peruvianhighlands. Water is at the heart of most of these conflicts.
Peru holds nearly 5 percent of the world’s water. Despite this amount of liquidit is ranked as critical when it comes to water supply.This contradiction is because 97.7% of the country’s water is on the easternslopes of the Andes, flowing to the Amazon and Brazil. Lima, the Peruviancapital with 8 million people, is the world’s second largest city built in a desertafter Cairo, Egypt.
Macusani, the “alpaca capital of the world”, is more than 4,300 metresabove sea level limiting economic opportunities to alpaca herding.
There are more than 1 millionheads of alpaca in Carabaya,most of them in Macusani.The average herd size is about90 animals, but farmers need aminimum of 300 animals tomake a liveable income.
The country’s 167,000 alpaca-raising families have an average of 21animals and earn about $600 annually from the sale of wool. This putsnearly all of them in a state of critical poverty.
To find out more about PROEXPOSUREcontact our friendly teamon +44 (0)20 7275 8472or email Louise Norton firstname.lastname@example.orgSourcesMatilde Riquelme, head of the local chapter of the Peruvian Society of Alpaca and Llama Farmers (SPAR)Government’s National South American Camelid Council (CONACS)Carlos Enriquez, teacherPuno Human Rights Ombudsman’s OfficeCesar Portocarrero, glacier specialist, ITDG-Practical ActionNational Environmental Council (CONAM)