Support by Rainforest Trust to our Peruvian partner APECO has been instrumental in leading to the government’s formal definition of protective categories over a 158,000-acre area that spans many ecosystems on the Amazonian slope of the Andes. Saving this pristine landscape represents a historic success for global conservation.
On December 10, 2009, the Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary and the neighboring Chayu Nain Community Reserve were officially declared by the Peruvian government, ending a 7-year process that began with their designation as protected Reserve Zones in 2003. These reserves protect a highly threatened Andean forest ecosystem on the Amazonian slope of the Andes.
Climbing over 10,000 feet in elevation from the lush rainforest of the Amazon to the stunted cloud forests of the high Andes, these reserves now protect 158,426 acres of incredibly diverse forest in the Peruvian region of Amazonas, just 80 km southeast from the border with Ecuador. A regional watershed that shelters an extraordinary diversity and richness of endemic flora and fauna, the zone is also important to 11 neighboring Awajún indigenous communities who will be responsible for managing the Communal Reserve.
These reserves safeguard an astounding array of wildlife, including many endangered and endemic species such as the Yellow-tailed Wooly Monkey, the Peruvian Night Monkey, the Melissa’s Yellow-eared Bat, the Long-whiskered Owlet (a bizarre and cryptic dwarf owl), two unique species of Anteater, and the endangered Colán Water Frog–which is found nowhere else on Earth and is sought after for its alleged aphrodisiacal properties. The region is also a population stronghold for a unique mix of rare lowland and highland species such as Spectacled Bear, Jaguar and untold other animal and plant species–many of which are certain to be new to science.
Under Peruvian law, National Sanctuaries are charged with safeguarding “the habitat of a species or community of flora and fauna, as well as natural formations of scientific and scenic interest.” Communal Reserves are defined as protected areas where local (often indigenous) communities are allowed to make use of natural resources following a government-approved management plan.
For over 28 years, APECO (the Peruvian Association for the Conservation of Nature) has worked to protect threatened habitats across Peru–fostering strategic alliances and lobbying ardently for environmental conservation. Rainforest Trust, together with Nature and Culture International and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, has supported APECO in its more than decade-long campaign to help create these two reserves. This important Andes/Amazon conservation block covers a variety of climatic zones and ecosystems and spans a wide elevational gradient–giving species room to adapt and maneuver as the effects of climate change take their toll.
A reservoir of unique and rare biodiversity, it is one of the most important protected areas to be established in recent years. This critical success stands as a testament to Rainforest Trust long-term support of our in-country partners as well as the enduring commitment to the protection of biodiversity by APECO and the Peruvian government.
Thank you for your support.
Click here to download the state declaration of the two Reserves (PDF).
Below: see the map of the newly declared Cordillera de Colán National Sanctuary (yellow outline) and Chayu Nain Community Reserve (blue outline)
View Rainforest Trust in a larger map