The Herpetological Working Group (the basic branch of INIBICO) is a highly experienced one, focused on Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobatids), we are engaged in general herpetofaunal surveys, training of field personnel for faunal research and management projects, species rescue programs, and teaching high jungle ecosystems to postgraduate students. Our projects include: the investigation, breeding and management of poison dart frogs, lizards and caimans; the investigation and management of ornamental fish, the analysis of snakes and their management (for toxin extraction), and pilot projects for the management of neotropical faunal elements (Tayassu tayacu, Chironectes minimus, tortoises etc.).
In 2000, renewed 4 WD vehicles, boats and new buildings with lab facilities for external scientists will bring major impulse to the investigation of the northern rainforests and high forests with hundreds of new animal and plant species.
Our publications contribute with important basic literature to the knowledge of the herpetofauna of Peru (poison dart frogs, snakes, lizards, insects and ornamental fishes). Especially important are the manuals of our new ZIRA and ZIR methods to manage poison dart frogs in original and managed rainforests. This is a direct application of nearly two decades of field research and currently INIBICO is teaching and training the first peasant association with 23 members for dendrobatid frog - production for export in an area of 250 hectares of managed rainforest.
The following important ecosystems are close to Tarapoto: The Cordillera Oriental, the Cordillera Azul - North East Spur, the East Andean slope, lowland forest, tropical dry forest, premontane and montane forests, cloud forests and others. These can be reached by car or boat in only 30-120 minutes. The most important structure near Tarapoto is the biggest riverine barrier in Northeast Peru - the Canyon of the Huallaga river with "weird species assemblages" (a comment of James Mallet, a famous Heliconius butterfly specialist). The flora of San Martin is rich in Orchids, Bromeliads and Aroid plants and fish of the Huallaga river and forest streams along the eastern foothills of the Cordillera Oriental show a lot of new species, often restricted to recently detected ancient faunal refuges (f. ex. the Paranapura - Shanusi refuge with many endemic species).
INIBICO is located in Tarapoto, Department of San Martin, Peru; a jungle city of 80,000 habitants with good infrastructure, an important airport, good hotels and services and several tourist attractions. Important reasons to settle INIBICO in Tarapoto were an altitude of 350 meters abouve sea level (1100 feet) providing a more comfortable climate (30º C) and fewer mosquitoes than the lowland jungle. Daily flights to and from Lima and a paved road from the coast to Tarapoto (TPP- LIMA 1600 km) facilitate access. A new plant of liquid nitrogen will improve scientific and genetic work in the future.