WLT signed a Tri-partite Agreement with Paraguayan partner organisation Guyra Paraguay and the Ministry of the Environment, SEAM in 2008, which heralded the start of a 10 Year Plan to protect over 2.5 million acres of critical habitat over three Protected Areas in northern Paraguay: Defensores del Chaco National Park, Cerro Chovoreca Natural Monument and Río Negro National Park. Through this agreement, WLT committed to raise funds and highlight the critical need for conservation measures to be put in place, and associated activities initiated. Over the next two years the project priority will be the effective management of Defensores del Chaco National Park which is located in the heart of the Chaco and a vital example of Dry Chaco habitat. This is the largest Protected Area in Paraguay, covering nearly 2 million acres of important habitat with an incredibly diverse and important range of wildlife.
As well as developing the Management Plan for Defensores del Chaco National Park, Guyra Paraguay is also working on the Río Negro National Park Management Plan and reviewing and updating the Site Conservation Plan for Chovoreca Natural Monument. Without protection this National Park and its wildlife will suffer as a result of poaching and loss of habitat through encroachment by neighbouring cattle ranchers. The results could have devastating consequences for the wildlife and one of the first steps is to raise funds to be able to employ more Park Rangers. As a first measure WLT has already allocated funds specifically for the Park Rangers and this has already made a difference on the ground. Part of the success so far includes training Park Rangers from Defensores del Chaco National Park in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and systems for monitoring. But more rangers and vehicles are urgently needed so that effective protection can be guaranteed.