Llanos region of venezuela have become the final refuge of many Amazon species in danger of extinction.
Scientific knowledge has revealed to us the importance of each species within the ecosystem.
The new conservationist trends have taught us the need to raise public awareness, to make everyone understand the importance of all ecosystems and their species.
The region of Los Llanos is divided into Hatos, large cattle ranches where zebus and horses are free to roam, looked after by a few cattle herders.
The lands remain in their original state because they have traditionally been used for extensive cattle rearing. For years, this has been the only way to exploit these lands, and so their owners have left them just as they were, making them the final refuge of many Amazon species in danger of extinction.
But these plains are not rich territory for cattle rearing, and the animals suffer great limitations and diseases, which make them less and less profitable.
The situation could bring changes which would lead to the ranches being used for other, more lucrative activities. But year after year, the intact nature of this austere land is progressively becoming its main source of income.
International conservationist organisations finance research projects on the ranches for the study and protection of threatened species, injecting foreign currency into an economically depressed area. There are now biological stations on the cattle ranches, stations that bring money which is compatible with cattle rearing. And some species have immediately benefited from this.
The Orinoco crocodile was, until recently, a mortal enemy for the inhabitants of this region.
The reptiles killed their cattle and were a potential danger to people, given their size and aggressiveness, and so they were hunted down almost to the point of extinction. Today, on ranches like El Frío, the Orinoco crocodiles are being studied and protected, and programmes of breeding in captivity and repopulation have been carried out in areas devastated by the cattle herders.
This study area, where scientists and conservationists from all over the world develop their programmes on the ground, receives a considerable injection of finance for the most threatened species, turning them into a profitable asset. The owners win, the conservationists win, science and knowledge win, and the crocodile, of course, wins. It is not surprising, therefore, that the population of Orinoco crocodiles has started a slow but promising recovery on the ranches of the Plains of Venezuela.