News Release: Creation of Reserve Offers First Protection for Threatened Colombian Ecosystem

Perija reserva July 2014 821 - for web
Dr. Salaman and ProAves team in new reserve

© Rainforest Trust
Perija Brush Finch - for webPerijá Brush-finch
Rainforest Trust
Perija Thistletail for webPerijá Thistletail
Rainforest Trust

Rainforest Trust and partners announce creation of new reserve for endangered bird species

(Warrenton, VA. – July 17, 2014) ProAves, Rainforest Trust and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) have announced the creation of the Chamicero de Perijá Nature Reserve, the first protected area in northern Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá mountain range.

ProAves has acquired 11 adjacent properties that form the 1,850-acre Chamicero de Perijá Nature Reserve. The reserve’s establishment is extremely timely, as 98 percent of the Serranía de Perijá’s rainforests have already been destroyed due to colonization and agricultural expansion. The reserve protects a pristine cloud forest environment that includes critical habitat for threatened wildlife.

“Without this reserve, the chances are high that within a few years nothing would be left of the spectacular forests that once covered Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust.

Due to a history of difficulties conducting research in the area, the Serranía de Perijá remains one of the least-known natural environments in the Northern Andes. Field research by ProAves, however, has confirmed its importance as a stronghold for many endemic and rapidly declining species.

“ProAves has been working in the Serranía de Perijá for almost a decade in an effort to protect its last forested areas. Thanks to our alliance with Rainforest Trust and GWC, we’ve finally achieved a lasting victory for the region’s imperiled wildlife,” said Luis Felipe Barrera, Director of Conservation for ProAves.

New research has established the presence of three endangered and endemic species, the Perijá Thistletail, Perijá Metaltail, and the Perijá Brush-finch. Several other bird species have also been discovered, including a new Brush-finch, Tapaculo, Screech-owl, and Spinetail.

“The new reserve is globally important, as it is recognized as an Alliance for Zero Extinction site. The incredible fauna and flora include many species found nowhere else in the world,” said Dr. Wes Sechrest, Chief Scientist and CEO of Global Wildlife Conservation.

The Chamicero de Perijá Nature Reserve will protect one of the best-preserved tracts of forest remaining in Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá. It also protects two watersheds that are vital for the city of Valledupar and several towns in the otherwise arid Cesar Department.

“This reserve is a win for everyone. Not only is it going to be a permanent lifeline for the region’s many endemic species that have nowhere else to go, but it is also a major victory for nearby cities and towns that will benefit for years from the water it provides,” said Dr. Salaman.

ProAves, Rainforest Trust, and GWC would like to extend thanks to all donors and partners that helped raise funds, especially Luanne Lemmer and Eric Veach, Robert Giles, Edith McBean and Hank Lowenstein, Larry Thompson, Charles and Jennifer Thornton-Kolbe, Partnership for International Birding, Stephen Schutz, Brett Byers, Ted and Kay Reissing, Urs-Peter Stäuble, Gwen Brewer, Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Sangreal Foundation.


Rainforest Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving rainforest and endangered species in partnership with local conservation leaders and indigenous communities. Since its founding in 1988, Rainforest Trust has saved nearly 8 million acres of rainforests and other tropical habitats in 73 projects across 17 tropical countries.

Global Wildlife Conservation GWC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit conservation organization whose mission is to protect endangered species and habitats through science-based field action. GWC conserves the world’s most endangered species and their habitats through exploration, research, and conservation. By maximizing effectiveness through collaboration, GWC unites with the world’s leading conservation organizations, universities, zoological and botanical organizations, and museums.

ProAves is a Colombian NGO dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through research, outreach and direct conservation actions in collaboration with local communities.


Rainforest Trust
Marc Ford

Global Wildlife Conservation
Ana Denman, +1-512-537-8951

Elementary School Students From NJ Raise $700 for the Rainforest

Mountain Park Bulletin Board“Mt. Park School saved 7 acres of the rainforest!”
Rainforest Rock CreationsRainforest Rock Creations
Spinning TopsSpinning Tops

The students at Mountain Park Elementary School in Berkeley Heights, NJ, are learning more than just a new language in their Spanish class – they’re also learning about the importance of the rainforest and taking action to protect it. Mariann Tierney’s third, fourth, and fifth grade students were able to raise $700 to save seven acres of rainforest.

As part of a unit she developed for her Spanish classes, Tierney’s students studied the people, animals, and plants that call tropical rainforests home. “Teaching my students about the rainforest (in Spanish) while making them aware of how important it is, how it is being destroyed, and what we can do to help has been something that I have been working on for a long time,” Tierney said.

Concerned by the rates at which these forests are destroyed, the students decided to get involved. “After searching online and finding many wonderful rainforest organizations, we decided to raise money for Rainforest Trust,” said Tierney. “We were impressed that 95% of the funding goes directly to conservation. The stories from other students all over the country making a difference for the rainforest were a great inspiration, too!”

To raise money, the students created rainforest animal rock creations (pictured) and bracelets in their Spanish class, then sold them to their family and friends. They also sold spinning tops crafted from old CDs and plastic bottle caps they collected.

The news about saving the rainforest soon spread throughout the school when the Mountain Park Student Council took up the cause. Under the direction of Marilyn Merrill, the school librarian, the Council participated by hanging posters, selling bookmarks, and collecting donations in classrooms.

The school’s efforts culminated in a PTO-sponsored performance by Andes Manta, a group of professional musicians from the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains.

“I learned that we need to protect it so life on Earth can continue. Hurting the rain forest can be a big problem for the ecosystem and for people and animals,” said Emilia, one of Tierney’s students. Alexander, another student, added, “I hope that some of those companies [destroying the rainforest] will use their noggins before they cut down more trees!”

After this successful fundraising experience, some students have been inspired to do even more. Several of Tierney’s students said they plan to continue fundraising on their own. “I’m going to make a lemonade stand and donate the money to protect more rainforest acres,” said Katherina.