Protecting the sacred rainbow mountains of Peru
May 21, 2017
The “rainbow mountains” of Ausangate have become a popular tourist destination for their unique colorful appearance. The Andean mountain range is striped with colors ranging from turquoise and lavender to maroon and gold due to millions of years of weathering of its unique mineral composition.
In addition to being a geological marvel, the Ausangate mountains are also an important cultural element for local Peruvians, as the mountain range is believed to be the deity of Cusco and considered to be holy. In the month of April, one week before Corpus Christi, the festival of Quyllur Rit’i (which translates in the native Quechua language to “star snow”) brings together the local indigenous people of the Andes as a celebration of the stars. The mountains are inhabited by llama and alpaca herding communities, and constitute one of the few remaining pastoralist societies in the world.
However, this magical place and its inhabitants are currently not an area that is officially protected by the government and this unique ecosystem in the Andes-Amazon is threatened by human destruction. To safeguard Ausangate, we partnered with the local government to create a conservation area of 311,456 acres that will protect this national patrimony. The process is expected to be finalized in late 2017 and we have been able to promote this region through a variety of social media efforts, photography galleries, and more. To see more of this beautiful region, follow our Facebook page.