|Las Tangaras Reserve © ProAves
|Black-and-gold Tanager © ProAves|
Toucan Barbet © ProAves
Working with its Colombian partner ProAves, Rainforest Trust has secured the purchase of two properties totaling 3,117 acres that will be added to the Las Tangaras Reserve. The purchase of these properties will significantly expand the reserve and provide improved protection for the many threatened and endemic species found within its borders.
The Las Tangaras Reserve protects a key portion of Colombia’s Chocó rainforest. Although this rainforest has received only scarce study, findings show it holds some of the highest concentrations of endemic species in the world. This includes not only amphibians, mammals, and plants, but also birds.
For the Gold-ringed Tanager, which is known to inhabit only five locations along the ridge tops of Colombia’s western Andes, Las Tangaras is one of its last strongholds. The reserve also protects habitat for the Black-and-gold Tanager and the Chocó Vireo, which has been found in only three areas.
Despite its impressive biodiversity, the Chocó rainforest is quickly disappearing. Logging, gold-mining, and cattle production have all destroyed large areas of the forest. Compounding the problem is the fact that this rainforest is severely under protected and that there are no controls in place to slow or stop widespread colonization.
As the region’s population has increased, so has the price of land. With prices climbing, the necessity of acting quickly to purchase lands has become imperative. After ProAves identified an area home to 50 Gold-ringed Tanager pairs in 2009, Rainforest Trust helped secure the purchase of the 5,500-acre site the following year, and the Las Tangaras Reserve was officially created in March of 2012. The recent purchase of 3,117 acres, which will help protect a critical watershed in the Chocó, increases the reserve’s total size to 7,977 acres.