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Still Time to Save the Amazon Education Centre

There is still time to donate to our SAVE THE AMAZON EDUCATION CENTRE campaign and end a tough year on a high note!

This beautiful illustration of the rare, gigantic pirarucu fish in the Amazon River was painted by one of the team of young educators at Natütama’s Education and Visitors’ Centre at Puerto Nariño in the Colombian Amazon, now in desperate need of urgent repairs.

Natütama is a Colombian charity dedicated to the sustainable management of resources and biodiversity in the Amazon. It runs education, research and conservation programmes from the Centre on the banks of the river in the Amazon rainforest. Built by local craftsmen using traditional construction methods and mainly natural, locally sourced materials, the Education and Visitor Centre is environmentally friendly but also needs regular repairs as the palm thatch and timber deteriorate quickly in the hot, wet climate.

Because of the pandemic, the Centre has received almost no visitor income since March 2020. There has been nothing available for maintenance. The roundhouse, constantly in use for activities, is leaking in many places and needs substantial re-roofing with palm leaves. The floor is also peeling in places and needs painting.

Young people from the region, mainly of the Ticuna ethnic group, work closely with the local community – farmers, fishermen and especially schools and families – to teach them how to protect endangered Amazonian wildlife and habitats while continuing to live and work in the same environment.

Please click here to donate today so Natütama’s important education and conservation work can continue into 2022.



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More Academic Success for Fenix Students!

Congratulations to three Fundacion Fénix students who achieved remarkable academic grades this term.

Indira and Angélica have finished their semesters with outstanding grades and at the top of their classes. Indira completed the first half of a higher education certificate to qualify in care of older adults and Angélica has finished the second year of a five year degree in social work. The two sisters come from a difficult and troubled family, with their mother and grandmother  dying recently.  Despite the problems both are remarkably caring and generous spirited girls. Their academic fees are paid by ‘godmothers’ donating through Children of Colombia.

Now over half way through her higher education diploma in physical education, Angélica Abril finished this trimester of classes as a straight A student, with a grade point average of 90%.

“We are, as you can imagine, hugely proud of them,” says Timothy Ross,  founding director of Fenix, the Colombian NGO dedicated to providing psychotherapy and educational support to vulnerable young women from troubled and abusive backgrounds.

Amazon Education Centre Christmas Appeal – Target Smashed!

The Amazon Education Centre Christmas Appeal target of £1000 has been reached thanks to your immense generosity just a week after it was launched.

We’re sure there are more people who would like to help this great cause so we are keeping the Amazon Education Centre Christmas Appeal running as planned until the end of December.  With your support, we will be able to cover labour costs as well as materials for re-building and repairing Natütama’s Education and Visitor Centre in Puerto Nariño in the Colombian Amazon.

In addition to its environmental education activities with schools and the local community, Natutama carries out important long-term research into the habitats and lifecycles of endangered species such as manatees, river dolphins and turtles native to the Amazon.

The charity depends on local fishermen, with a lifetime experience of the river and its tributaries, to monitor the numbers of species, their breeding places, new babies and sadly deaths.

The data gathered from the monitoring operation provides information which can help protect threatened species through management, rescue or protection actions and education.  The data provided has been presented at international scientific forums and can help point to areas where further research is needed.

“We as a Foundation start from the conviction that we should not touch animals or disturb them with our activities. There are some exceptional cases in which an animal can be touched: for example, to free it from a fishing net or to remove it from a place where it is endangered by human activities.” explains Natutama.

Some of the endangered species on Natutama’s monitoring and conservation programme (taken from its website):

Pink River Dolphin

The Tikuna call it Omacha. It is the largest river dolphin in the world (approx. 2.80 m.). At birth they are dark gray and turn pink over the years. Instead of a triangular fin, it has a kind of hump; this and its flexible neck, allows it to swim among the roots of trees in the flooded forest. With its long snout, it can find its food in difficult places. It is not very common to see him make jumps out of the water, only the passage of his back and the sound of breathing are perceived on the surface.

Threats: conflicts over fishing, boat trafficking and impact of dolphin watching programs


It is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, exceeding 3 m. in length, weighs up to 250 kg. It is characterized by its reddish coloration on the edge of the scales. When the oxygen in the water decreases, it takes the air out of the water, through your mouth. It feeds on fish. They form pairs and make their nests by digging at the bottom of the water or on the substrate. The nests are cared for by both parents and the young at birth swim attached to the head of the adult.

Natütama Foundation monitors catches and nest distribution in lakes and streams. Distribution of pirarucú in the backwaters of the Amazon River.

Threats: capture of small sizes, violation of the fishing ban, loss of habitat.


They are the three most important species of aquatic turtles in the Amazon. The female of the charapa reaches up to 90 cm., the cupiso up to 30 cm. and the taricaya up to 50 cm. The size of the nests and the shape of the eggs also varies by species: the charapa lays 70 to 130 round and soft eggs, the cupiso 13 to 15 oval and carraspous eggs, and the taricaya from 20 to 45 oval and soft eggs. In winter they are found in lakes, wells, pipes and flooded forest. In summer the females go out to the river looking for the beaches to nest. The cupiso and the charapa need the beaches to make their nests, the taricaya also uses the beach, but prefers muddy sites and ravines. What most affects the turtle population is the looting of nests and capture of females by humans.

Natütama Foundation monitors the distribution and abundance of charapa, cupiso and taricaya in the posture season with protection of nests and transfer of threatened eggs. Release of turtles into the lakes at 3 months of hatching.

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