Expansion of Ecuador’s Canandé Reserve Protects Chocó Region

Eric Kilby Great Green Macaw © Eric Kilby
cmg Chocó rainforest at Canandé © Jocotoco
Dacnis Pechiescarlata Dacnis Pechiescarlata © Jocotoco

September 19, 2014

Rainforest Trust’s Ecuadorian partner Fundación Jocotoco purchased six properties totaling 1,222 acres to expand the Río Canandé Reserve in Ecuador to 5,831 acres on September 18, 2014.

The reserve protects part of one of the last remnants of the Chocó lowland rainforest in Ecuador, which is considered a hotspot for biodiversity and has one of the highest concentrations of endemic and threatened species in the world. Río Canandé Reserve is also the Ecuadorian stronghold for the Critically Endangered Brown-headed Spider Monkey.

In Ecuador, far less than the 10% of the original Chocó forest cover remains intact. Due to the high level of endemism and the increasing threats facing this region, such as deforestation and the rapid spreading of African oil palm plantations, Fundación Jocotoco has made expansion of the Río Canandé Reserve a priority to protect the habitat of an extraordinary wealth of plant and animal species. In the next few years Jocotoco hopes to be able to acquire adjacent lands, before powerful oil palm interests arrive.

Río Canandé Reserve is partially surrounded by the Chachi indigenous territory, a block of the State Forest Patrimony, the buffer zone of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, and by the El Pambilar Wildlife Refuge.

The zone where the recently purchased properties are located contains healthy ecosystems and extraordinary biodiversity. During the last months, the forest guards of Río Canandé Reserve have repeatedly observed flocks of Great Green Macaws and troops of Spider monkeys in the newly added area. Such sightings attest to the importance of this sector for conservation.

“This new addition is a remarkable achievement for conservation in Ecuador,” said Rocio Merino, Executive Director of Fundación Jocotoco. “The expansion represents not only the protection of the habitat of the Great Green Macaws, but also creates the possibility of connecting Río Canandé Reserve with other protected areas.”

Dr. Robert S. Ridgely, Rainforest Trust’s President and one of Fundación Jocotoco’s founders, added, “Few places even in the Tropics can match the exuberance of life in the Chocó, and our Río Canandé Reserve preserves some of the best of this dwindling habitat left. Full of endemic birds, mammals (even our emblematic Jaguar!), and a host of other smaller but equally important creatures, the Chocó represents a paradise found. It’s a splendid addition to one of Jocotoco’s most important reserves.”

This great conservation success was achieved by Fundación Jocotoco, in partnership with Rainforest Trust, American Bird Conservancy, World Land Trust, and March Conservation Foundation. Of note was the participation of many friends of the late Don Carr, who together pooled their resources to create a very special memorial to a very special person. Two hundred and fifty of the most accessible acres in this purchase will be permanently named the “Don Carr Memorial Forest” and a guard station will be named for Don as well.

Updated Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia Released

fieldguidecolombia-coverThe 2nd Edition of the Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia
Featuring 4,500 color illustrations.
The 2nd Edition features a brand new mammal identification section.

September 18, 2014

On September 8, 2014, Rainforest Trust’s Colombian partner ProAves published the second edition of its Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia. The updated edition is almost twice as large as the 2010 original edition and contains many new illustrations. This edition also features a foreword by Rainforest Trust’s CEO, Dr. Paul Salaman.

The book’s added features make it the most comprehensive field guide to Colombia’s birds to-date. It boasts 4,500 color illustrations, almost 2,000 color range maps, a new mammal identification section, and a guide to the top birding sites in Colombia.

The first edition, published in 2010, was followed by a Spanish version (Guia de Campo de Las Aves de Colombia) the following year. Both versions have proved innovative tools to help scientists and enthusiasts alike navigate the complexities of Colombia’s rich bird life.

This improved second edition has been fully updated, expanded, and almost entirely re-illustrated by co-authors, Miles McMullan and Thomas Donegan. Despite having been significantly improved, the book ‘s primary purpose as a compact and easily accessible pocket guide remains the same.

The new field guide is being sold by Conservation Allies, with all proceeds going to Rainforest Trust. The field guide is now available for purchase through the Conservation Allies Amazon store.


Get your copy of the 2nd Edition Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia on Amazon Smile

11 Must-See Mammals of the Atlantic Rainforest

Coati-cc - Copy
Coati Mundi © Bart van Dorp
David Cook Tayra - Copy Tayra © David Cook
F. Veronesi Marmoset © Francesco Veronesi

Camera traps have captured the secret life of threatened mammals in one of the Atlantic Rainforest’s most important reserves.

Within its 17,500-acre reserve, Rainforest Trust’s Brazilian partner REGUA protects a vibrant piece of the Atlantic Rainforest, an ecosystem even more biodiverse than the Amazon Basin.

The reserve is the confirmed home of 72 mammal species and their numbers show strong signs of recovery as the protected area continues to expand and connect forest fragments in the Guapiaçu Valley, 40 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro.

During a recent biological study, Steve Morgan, a volunteer at REGUA, captured a series of videos that provide a glimpse into the hidden lives of the reserve’s rare mammal species. The 11 species recorded by Morgan represent some of the reserve’s most charismatic and elusive mammals, including Pumas and Ocelots.

Due to the area’s legacy of intensive hunting, REGUA’s mammals are extremely wary and hard to see. Hunting, however, has been drastically reduced with the adoption of an innovative strategy of recruiting hunters as guides and park guards. As a result, some of REGUA’s best guards are now former hunters.

Over time, the behavior of mammal species in REGUA is expected to normalize as human threats diminish and animals now confined to the deepest parts of the forest will begin to recolonize new areas.

REGUA’s forests are of particular importance as a refuge for wildlife in the Atlantic Rainforest. Over 92% of the rainforest has been destroyed to make way for farms, towns, and roads. The results have been catastrophic for wildlife populations throughout the region.

Because of its proximity to Rio de Janeiro, the Guapiaçu Valley is an attractive site for the construction of vacation homes for the city’s wealthy residents. Increased development, however, poses a serious threat to the reserve’s endemic mammal populations.

Rainforest Trust is working with REGUA to quickly purchase 1,128 acres of forests in the Guapiaçu Valley while time remains.


News Release: Rainforest Trust Announces One Million Acre Jaguar Initiative

newsrelease-thumb3Rainforest Trust’s Jaguar Initiative will protect one million acres of habitat. © Shuttersock
newsrelease-thumb1The jaguar is the largest wild cat in the Americas. © Shutterstock
newsrelease-thumbJaguars continue to excite new generations of admirers.            © Shutterstock

Rainforest Trust Announces Initiative to Save One Million Acres of Critical Jaguar Habitat

Nonprofit encourages the public to help save threatened jaguars across three Latin American countries

WARRENTON, VA – SEPTEMBER 9, 2014Rainforest Trust, a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving threatened lands and endangered species, has announced a year-long initiative to save one million acres of rainforest that is home to the imperiled jaguars, the largest wild cats in the Western Hemisphere.

Over the next year, Rainforest Trust’s Million Acre Jaguar Initiative will raise funds to create reserves throughout Latin America, beginning with Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Rainforest Trust will work closely with in-country conservation partners to protect these vulnerable areas through direct land purchase as well as government designation of protected areas.

Once inhabiting an enormous territory stretching from the United States to Argentina, jaguars face an increasingly uncertain future. Massive habitat destruction, widespread hunting, and loss of prey have led to significant population declines throughout Latin America, leaving these magnificent animals in urgent need of assistance.

Those interested in donating to the Initiative will have the option of giving to an individual jaguar reserve or having their donation distributed evenly among the three initial projects.
Donations will support the creation of the Sierra del Divisor Reserve in Peru, a reserve in Brazil’s Pantanal, and the El Jaguar Reserve in Colombia. To kick off the Initiative, Ann Kruglak of Mystic Dreamer Art has pledged to make a matching donation of $10,000 for the Sierra del Divisor Reserve.

These projects fit within a broader conservation framework that addresses the ubiquitous challenges confronting the jaguar species. The Million Acre Jaguar Initiative seeks to provide sanctuaries for isolated jaguar groups to help stop local extinctions; create wildlife corridors between established reserves to connect fragmented populations; and halt the deterioration of core habitat areas by expanding protection in those regions.

“The preservation of the jaguar is critical to the continued health of many ecosystems,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust. “Jaguars once roamed throughout Central and South America. But having lost over half their range, they’re close to becoming an endangered species. The Million Acre Jaguar Initiative will help ensure a future for these extraordinary creatures.”

As a means of spreading awareness and promoting the initiative, Rainforest Trust will also be hosting a month-long series of contests and sweepstakes at social.rainforesttrust.org, beginning today.

To donate or learn more about this project visit www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/urgent-appeals/jaguar/.

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 rainforest and other tropical habitats and has 85 projects across 22 countries.

Media contacts:
Marc Ford, Rainforest Trust

Megan McMonagle, RF|Binder