In 1961, Dr. Wolfram Drewes and Eng. Jose Lizarraga located the zone during a detour from their scouting flights to investigate areas of potential colonization. They observed two waterfalls on the western flank of the Vilcabamba mountain range. In 1963 National Geographic magazine reported on the zone’s natural qualities and beauty and that it was of international interest for conservation, and possibly for the creation of a national park. In 1964, the Eng. Alfonso Rizo Patron presented the government with a photographic analysis of the area, taken by Hunting Co., where they discovered the existence of Pavirontsi Natural Bridge (37).
In 1964, the members of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) observed 12 waterfalls in the area with hydroelectric potential to develop colonization zones nearby. They stated that all of the waterfalls were tributaries of the Cutivireni River (38).
In 1965, the Organization of American States (OAS) proposed the creation of Cutivireni National Park. In 1974 the Franciscan Missionaries from the Vicarage of San Ramon proposed the creation of protected areas to the then militant government. In 1984, French scientist Jaques Cousteau visited the zone on his route from the Amazonian headwaters to the snow covered Andes.
In 1987, the Association for the Conservation of the Cutivireni Heritage (ACPC) completed the entire terrestrial route and arrived at Pavirontsi. They confirmed that this natural bridge was the largest in the world. Upon their return, they held a press conference where they emphasized the necessity protecting the area, and they sent a proposal to the authorities. In response to the proposal, in June 1988 the Forestry and Fauna General Directorate (DGFF) carried out a helicopter trip to survey the area. On June 22 of that same year, the Center for Rural Development of Satipo, pertaining to the Junin XVI Branch of the Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Agriculture, sent a report regarding land tenure to the DGFF.
In October 1998 a workshop was held to discuss the Apurimac National Forest-Reality and Perspectives, where a majority of the governmental organizations, native communities, non-governmental organizations, and representatives of the colonists working in the Apurimac Reserve and adjacent areas participated to agree upon a series of common working strategies. The results were given to the Minister of Agriculture.
In November of 1989 the DGFF signed an agreement with ACPC for the study and investigation of the ecology of the flora and fauna in the Cutivireni zone. In June 1997 and 1998 Conservation International, through its Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), sent two expeditions into the Vilcambamba mountain range, confirming the area’s high level of endemism. In 1999, the Conservation International implemented GEF Project began. One of its listed objectives was to recategorize the Apurimac Reserved Zone into official protected areas (39).