Sunday, May 18, 2014

Great Conservation News from Ecuador!

Ecuador's Jocotoco Foundation and the US-based Rainforest Trust have purchased a final, key property to "create a permanent refuge for the largest population of Andean Condors in the Northern Andes." Woolly Tapirs and Spectacled Bears also roam those hills.

 Andean Condor in Cayambe-Coca National Park
(Photos by Narca)

The newly-acquired Hacienda Antisanilla lies at the foot of the towering Volcán Antisana, and was one of the former private inholdings within the Antisana Ecological Reserve. These inholdings were being converted from forest to pasture and farmland; fires which started there burned into the reserve; illegal poaching based from the inholdings was rampant and difficult to control; and the most important watershed for the city of Quito was being undermined. Now effective preservation of both the reserve and Quito's watershed can be achieved.

Antisana Ecological Reserve is important not only in its own right, but also as a corridor between two national parks –– Gran Sumaco and Cayambe-Coca (more on Cayambe-Coca in a future post!).

Sign for Cayambe-Coca National Park at Papallacta Pass

Acquisition of this final property completes the effort to bring effective protection to 1.8 million acres of Andean and Amazonian ecosystems.

How needed was this reserve? All it takes is a two-day drive down the Andes from Quito south to the Peruvian border, to see just how much forest in Ecuador has already been lost. Along many stretches, for mile after mile, the country is denuded, and the tiny forest remnants are pitiful indeed. The few scattered reserves in the region are critically important.

If you'd like to read more about this project and other inspiring Rainforest Trust efforts in Bolivia, Peru, Brazil and Colombia, check out their latest newsletter.

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