PURCHASED: Defending the Palkachupa Cotinga, Bolivia

Palkachupa CotingaPROJECT SNAPSHOT

LOCATION: Apolo Cloud Forest, La Paz Department, Bolivia

SIZE: 12,000 acres

KEY SPECIES: Critically Endangered and endemic Palkachupa Cotinga, over 300 species of cloud forest birds, Spectacled Bear

HABITAT: Moist Andean forest with patches of natural grasslands

THREATS: Cattle pasture and burning in dry season

ACTION: Establish a protected area for the Palkachupa Cotinga and its habitat in Apolo, where the greatest concentrations of the bird are found

LOCAL PARTNERS: Asociacion Armonia

FINANCIAL NEED: $100,000 to acquire properties at $100 per acre

Cattle and moist forests in Bolivia
Palkachupa Cotinga
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Project Update: The land highlighted in this project has been purchased. Additional land will become available so donations are still being accepted.

Lost for over a century, the spectacular Palkachupa Cotinga (Phibalura boliviana) was rediscovered in 2000 in northwestern Bolivia. Initially, the Palkachupa was thought to be a subspecies of the Brazilian Swallow-tailed Cotinga. But its recent rediscovery allowed researchers from Rainforest Trust partner Associación Armonía to detail the differences between these two species, which are located 1,400 miles from one another.

The Palkachupa Cotinga is found only in the Apolo Cloud Forest and is clearly adapted to its unique, central Andean habitat.

Located on a sprawling plateau at 3,900 feet above sea level, the Apolo Cloud Forest is a unique semi-humid Andean forest in northwestern Bolivia. 80% of this forest has been destroyed through agricultural clearings, burnings, and firewood collection. Tragically, this process hasn’t stopped. In recent years, Armonía researchers have returned to small pockets of forest where the Palkachupa Cotinga had been documented–only to find the land completely deforested.

At the center of this irreplaceable habitat sits the city of Apolo, whose growing population presents an important challenge for conservation.

Today, we can make a difference for this stunning bird. For only $100 an acre, we can save the endangered cloud forest habitat that Palkachupa Cotinga relies on to survive.

Associación Armonía has been studying the Palkachupa Cotinga and working toward its conservation since 2005, combining field investigation with community outreach and environmental education. Extensive field surveys have been undertaken to map the species’ distribution and to assess and monitor its conservation status. Recent census data suggest a total remaining population of only 600-800 individuals with the population stronghold located in the southern sector of its range.

The impact of habitat loss on the viability of the remaining Palkachupa Cotinga population is increasingly critical as the extent of suitable habitat becomes more fragmented and forest remnants become smaller and more degraded.

Our partner has identified key areas for priority actions, including the creation of a reserve to protect important nesting sites and semi-humid forest foraging habitat.

Armonía works closely with the local community and even assisted in the construction of its elementary school. Recently, Armonía reached an agreement with the community to help protect the surrounding forests, and one local resident, William Ferrufino, has been hired by Armonía for this campaign.

We urgently need to raise the funds to buy the forest that protects this Palkachupa strong-hold population. This quickly-vanishing habitat can be bought and saved for $100 an acre, but we have to act now. Our aim is to create a reserve for the Palkachupa, and to work with the local population to promote viable economic activities for the community, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the reserve.

In total, we are trying to raise $100,000 to save the endangered habitat of the defiant Palkachupa Cotinga. But we can’t do it without your critical support.

Map of the Project Area

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