Critical New Nature Reserve Established to Protect Endangered Species and Indigenous Communities in the Chocó
Located in Colombia, the rainforest contains one of the highest concentrations of endemic biodiversity in the world, with many birds, plants and amphibians at risk of extinction.
In 2010, an international team of tropical biology experts and students from the Universidad Tecnológica del Choco (Quibdó), Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and ProAves visited a previously unstudied region of the northern Chocó rainforest now called “Las Tangaras” that includes both lowland rainforest to highland cloud forest.
Many of the amphibians uncovered during the expedition are likely to be new species – previously unknown to science. Various spectacular multicolored frogs were found and are believed to reside nowhere else on Earth.
Additionally, the area is home to several rare and threatened bird species, including the Endangered Chocó Vireo and Gold-ringed Tanager, as well as other threatened species such as the Spectacled Bear and Jaguar. This location became the target area for creating a new reserve. A total of sixteen private colonist properties in the area were immediately acquired to create the 7,076 acre Tanagers Reserve. The reserve is located close to several Embera indigenous communities and aims to create a buffer against a new increasing wave of colonists eager to exploit the areas rich natural resources.
|Las Tangaras Nature Bird Reserve.|
The Las Tangaras Nature Reserve is one of the most diverse and important tropical forest sites on earth, and will protect a great elevational gradient – from 2,000 to 12,900 feet above sea level. This area protects the watershed of the Rio Atrato – the Chocó’s most important river which serves as a vital economic resource for tens of thousands of inhabitants living in poor rural communities. This strategic land acquisition helps consolidate a buffer zone protecting over one hundred thousand acres, against unsustainable rapid colonization, and strengthens the protection of several isolated indigenous communities threatened by colonization.
“We are strategically acquiring and protecting a critical area of privately held rainforest to create a buffer zone against colonization and strengthen the protection of adjacent indigenous communities that are besieged by gold-miners and ranchers”, stated Dr. Paul Salaman of World Land Trust, a champion of conservation action in the megadiverse Choco Hotspot.
“We are thrilled that such a vital piece of habitat will be protected in the future,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of ABC. “This new reserve will likely also safeguard many undiscovered biodiversity gems”.
The Las Tangaras Nature Reserve, owned and operated by ProAves, is expected to be a major attraction to visiting birdwatchers and nature tourists. The area boasts remarkable opportunities for birding (over 250 species documented at the reserve so far) in a country that is home to more avian species than any other on the planet. A spacious, eight-bedroom lodge, a house for staff, and a restaurant featuring a balcony overlooking the Atrato river were just constructed. Other important species found in the reserve include the endangered Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer and Yellow-eared Parrot, and the vulnerable Black-and-Gold Tanager and Toucan Barbet.
“Visitors will be astounded how easy it is to see an incredible diversity of rare and little known biodiversity, including a dozen endemic bird species. We hope people will come from all over to visit and appreciate what the Colombian Chocó has to offer, be they from nearby Medellin or from Miami, or London”, commented Lina Daza, Executive Director of ProAves.
Located four hours by highway from the city of Medellin, the Las Tangaras reserve lies at the gateway from the Andean highlands into the Choco lowlands and offers spectacular scenery, lush forests and some of Colombia’s rarest wildlife attractions, all conveniently located around the spacious Mary Giles lodge in a meandering loop of the Rio Atrato. For more information and bookings, please contact Juan Caicedo firstname.lastname@example.org at EcoTurs Colombia www.EcoTurs.org.