PURCHASED: Saving the Jocotoco Antpitta, Ecuador

Golden-plumed parakeetPROJECT SNAPSHOT

LOCATION: Zamora-Chinchipe Province, Southestern Ecuador

SIZE: 3,500 acres

KEY SPECIES: Jocotoco Antpitta; new species of tree frog; at least 300 bird species; Spectacled Bear and woolly mountain tapir; rich orchid flora

HABITAT: Wet montane forest
THREATS: Clearing for raising cattle
ACTION: Expand current reserve by 3,500 acres. Expand existing tourist facilities. Increase accessible lower-elevation forest holdings, primarily near the road between the lodge
and Valladolid.
LOCAL PARTNER: Fundación Jocotoco
FINANCIAL NEED: Purchase land at approximately $200-$300 per acre; key parcels cost $20-60,000
Jocotoco Antpitta
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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.

Tapichalaca is Fundación Jocotoco’s flagship reserve, established in 1998. Five park guards are resident, providing protection greater than in adjacent Podocarpus National Park. Birders and ecotourists are now coming to Tapichalaca in increasing numbers. Most stay two or more nights, long enough for an excellent chance to see the Jocotoco Antpitta, which now comes in every morning to be fed, usually almost to your feet.

Fundación Jocotoco was established in Quito, Ecuador, in 1998, subsequent to the electrifying discovery in 1997 of a new species of antpitta–later named the Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi)–in the Andes of the southeastern part of the country. From the time of its initial discovery it was recognized that the antpitta was a rare and range-restricted species. A group of scientists and conservationists–Ecuadorian and international –convened in order to try to prevent the antpitta from sliding into the abyss of extinction. Rather than attempt to persuade the Ecuadorian government to protect the habitat upon which the species depended (an attempt that seemed doomed to failure, given the range of other obligations facing it then and now), Fundación Jocotoco opted to pursue a strategy of private land purchase and protection–in essence to create a privately managed reserve whose primary management goal would be to protect one of Ecuador’s most critically endangered bird species.

In September 1998, thanks to private and institutional fundraising efforts, the initial land purchases were made, and a first “guardaparque” hired. Since then there have been numerous additional purchases, and what is now known as Tapichalaca Reserve has expanded to 7,000 acres on which is found all or virtually all of the world’s known population of the Jocotoco Antpitta. Four guardaparques are now on staff, and Casa Simpson, a research and ecotourism facility, has been significantly expanded and improved.


Map of the Project Area

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