Less than a year ago, we launched the urgent appeal to purchase critical habitat in Colombia, home to five endangered parrot species at imminent risk of extinction. Recognizing the critical importance of this appeal, Frank Friedrich Kling from Illinois committed half the acquisition cost and many Rainforest Trust donors stepped up to match Frank’s generous offer including Urs-Peter Stäuble from Switzerland. The support enabled our Colombian partner to immediately act to buy and save over 10,000 acres in 2009.
With such a strong commitment to saving the Yellow-eared Parrot and many other endangered wildlife, Rainforest Trust Director of Conservation Director Dr. Paul Salaman organized a short tour for Frank Kling, Urs-Peter Stäuble, Harry Rogge, and Antonio Martinez in March 2010.
The tour paid a visit to 10,000 acres that had been acquired and named the “Reserva Natural Loros Andinos” or Andean Parrots Nature Reserve and were immediately impressed by the spectacular landscape with sweeping views of cloud forests and natural grasslands called páramos.
Dr. Salaman’s group was received by a friendly, newly-trained forest guard from the local community–part of the initiative by our partner in the field, ProAves Colombia, which has established a superb Guard Station headquarters. Newly marked trails demark boundaries of the reserve and provided excellent opportunities for viewing the beautiful and endangered Yellow-eared Parrot.
A highlight of the trip was watching dozens of pairs of Yellow-eared Parrots affectionately bonding–approachable to within 20 feet as they peered out of nest cavity holes or sat in nearby branches. The incredibly affectionate pairs were constantly kissing, copulating, and preening like lovers.
This new protected area is a magnificent testament to conservation. It stretches across the mighty crest of the Central Cordillera with 14,000-feet peaks, three wide glaciated valleys, and half a dozen large lakes.
On their early morning flight departure from the city of Cali, the group flew directly over the reserve, affording a stunning panoramic view of the entire area under protection. Needless to say, these supporters were pleased with the results of their actions, and all look forward to returning to the reserve in the near future.