Individuals who have made outstanding individual achievements in the field of conservation of nature and the environment and who have done remarkable practical conservation work. (Next generation of scientists award).
For exceptional achievements in practical nature conservation. The award is endowed with 15 000 Euros.
Teófilo Torres understands the important role of indigenous communities living in the Amazon for nature conservation efforts. Especially since he was born in the local community Remanso on the Putumayo River, near Yaguas National Park. As such, as director of Yaguas National Park, it was a priority for him to nurture dialogues with the ethnic groups living along the Putumayo River.
In 2002, Teófilo Torres began his career as a sociologist with Peru’s national parks authority SERNANP. In 2012, some of his most important achievements were the designations and establishments of the Güeppi-Sekime National Park and the Airo Pai and Huimeki Municipal Reserves in the Putumayo River’s upper drainage basin. Later, Teófilo Torres became the director of these protected areas. Together with the local communities in the region, he and his team developed management plans for the Güeppi-Sekime National Park and adjacent Communal Reserves. They also worked on agreements regarding the sustainable harvesting of the Yellow-spotted River Turtles.
In September 2015, Teófilo Torres became the director of Yaguas Reserved Zone, with the initial task of re-starting the designation process to make the Reserved Zone a national park, a process that had been halted. He achieved this goal in January 2018, making Yaguas into a national park that covers 868,928 hectares. The Yaguas River is an important source of freshwater for the region. Also, the diversity of fish species, and quantity of large fish make this a critically important food source for indigenous communities living in the middle and lower sections of the Putumayo River Basin, as well as the Ampiyacu River Basin. Unfortunately, the health of the rivers is threatened with gold mining activities. To combat this, Teófilo Torres has implemented a strategy against alluvial gold mining and logging activities in Yaguas National Park.