| Blue-billed Curassow © ProAves
| Marking boundary of new acquisition © ProAves
| Lowland rainforest protected in the El Paujíl Reserve © ProAves
May 30, 2014
Rainforest Trust’s Colombian partner ProAves successfully completed the purchase of 494 acres that will provide critical protection for the Blue-billed Curassow and other endangered species by expanding the El Paujíl Reserve. The reserve, located in Central Colombia, now totals more than 8,400 acres.
The new acquisition, which conserves pristine lowland rainforest, contains populations of such threatened species as the Spectacled Bear, Brown Spider Monkey, Magdalena Tapir, and Blue-billed Curassow.
With as few as 150 mature individuals remaining, the critically endangered Blue-billed Curassow is considered one of the most endangered birds on the planet. The reserve protects the only viable population of the species known to exist.
“This new property is definitely one of the most important areas for the Blue-billed Curassow in Colombia,” said Alonso Quevedo, executive director of ProAves. “And the recent discovery of large mammals like the Magdalena Tapir and Spectacled Bear within the reserve has added new urgency to our expansion efforts. These mammals need big undisturbed areas to thrive and this land purchase is part of a larger, ongoing effort to provide that space.”
ProAves created the El Paujíl Nature Reserve in 2003 with the support of Rainforest Trust to protect an important segment of Colombia’s Magdalena Valley, one of the planet’s most vulnerable rainforest regions. Rainforest Trust has continued to support the reserve’s expansion in subsequent years.
Although the forest supports an impressive array of endemic species, it is being rapidly cleared. Uncontrolled colonization and logging have caused the destruction of more than 16 million acres, accounting for nearly 98% of the Magdalena rainforest. Combined with illegal hunting, such habitat loss has had catastrophic effects on the local fauna.
Despite these threats, the Blue-billed Curassow population in the El Paujíl Reserve has increased 23% annually. The new acquisition will ensure that sufficient space exists for this population to continue expanding.
Complementing its conservation work, ProAves launched an educational outreach campaign in 2009 to engage local communities. Over 200 community and school workshops have been conducted, and the Blue-billed Curassow is now celebrated in an annual festival. ProAves is also working with local communities to develop sustainable ecotourism activities.
This project was made possible thanks to the generous support of Luanne Lemmer and Eric Veach, Larry Thompson, George Jett, Ted and Kay Reissing, Shayde Christian, and Rainforest Trust Board member Brett Byers.