PURCHASED: Preventing Extinction in Sierra Caral, Guatemala


LOCATION: Guatemala-Honduras border

SIZE: 5,436 acres

KEY SPECIES: Blue Pit Viper, Wake’s Moss Salamander, Copan Stream Frog

HABITAT: Foothill rainforest

THREATS: Cattle ranching, agricultural forest clearing, and cross-border logging

ACTION: Purchase and protection of key properties strategically located across Sierra Caral



Sierra Caral
Blue Pit Viper (Bothriechis thalassinus)
Sierra Caral Salamander
Donate Now

Project Update: The land highlighted in this project has been purchased. Additional land will become available so donations are still being accepted.

Sierra Caral is the single most bio-diverse forest remnant in Caribbean Guatemala and is an unparalleled center of endemism for amphibians, reptiles, and insects. It is likely the top conservation priority for new acquisition in the country and possibly in the Caribbean slope of northern Central America. Seven endemic species of amphibians have recently been discovered in the region, plus the arboreal Blue Pit Viper (Bothriechis thalassinus), named for its amazing blue tonality.

Thirty five percent of the amphibians of Sierra Caral are listed as Threatened by IUCN, with 10 either Critically Endangered species (Cryptotriton wakei, Nototriton brodiei, Agalychnis moreletii, Duellmanohyla soralia, Ptychohyla hypomykter) or Endangered.

Sierra Caral is threatened by deforestation, illegal cross-border logging activities, and expanding cattle ranching that is rapidly fragmenting a once continuous forest across the Merendón Mountain Ridge. Although our partner FUNDAECO has successfully designed a protected area and has mobilized community support for its legal declaration by the National Congress, the Decree for a new protected area could take many years to be passed. By then, this much of the species diversity that makes Sierra Caral exceptional could be lost. In this context, land acquisition is an immediate need. FUNDAECO has a land acquisition strategy to buy and protect 5,436 acres of key properties strategically located across Sierra Caral.

In total, FUNDAECO requires $1 million to protect the entirety of the Sierra Caral site. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, together with Global Wildlife Conservation, we have raised the $1 million land acquisition costs to support FUNDAECO. We are hoping to allocate an additional $16,500 to establishing key protective measures and land boundaries in the new reserve’s first year of operation. Please help us take a stand for this region’s incredible biodiversity by giving generously while there is still forest to protect.


Located on the Guatemala-Honduras border, Sierra Caral is consistently identified as the highest conservation priority in the region. This area’s unique biogeographic conditions, including a diverse terrain and climate, make it a hotspot of endemism for amphibians, reptiles, and insects in northern Central America. Of the amphibians, nine Critically Endangered or Endangered species are found here, five of which are found nowhere else in the world. Sierra Caral is also one of the most threatened forests in Caribbean Guatemala as logging and agriculture continue to take a terrible toll on this unique ecosystem.

Our partner in Guatemala, FUNDAECO, has been involved in grassroots conservation actions and land protection projects in the region for years. With Rainforest Trust support, FUNDAECO will acquire several strategic private properties that are currently earmarked for logging or clearing and are high-priority sites for Critically Endangered species. But it is essential that we act quickly. Each day that we delay action, more of this spectacular forest habitat is lost. If this forest is destroyed, with it will go an incredible diversity of plant and animal life found nowhere else on the planet.

Please donate today and help us put a stop to this tragedy.

Map of the Project Area


View Rainforest Trust 2013 conservation projects in a larger map