In May 2012 the 6,000-acre Sierra Caral Amphibian Reserve in Guatemala was established to protect some of the country’s most endangered wildlife. The reserve is home to a dozen globally threatened frogs and salamanders- five found nowhere else in the world, three species of threatened birds, and the recently discovered Merendon Palm-pit viper (Bothriechis thalassinus) which is classified as arboreal and blue-toned.
Rainforest Trust, along with a consortium of fifteen international conservation groups, worked together to raise the funds needed to purchase the last remains of primary forest in the Sierra Caral. “This is a real triumph for the planet–conservationists across North and Central America banded together to save the last stand of this unique rainforest,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust.
As part of the ongoing development efforts for the Sierra Caral Reserve, tours and activities were added and enhanced for guests. The newest attraction for visitors is a hike to a beautiful cascading waterfall found during the creation of a tourist path. The two-mile roundtrip hike takes visitors along the Las Animas River then reaching an open forest along a mountain slope before following a perennial stream to the waterfall. With a medium difficulty level, this hike will be a popular one for guests visiting the reserve.
Guatemalan biologist Carlos Vasquez Almazan, one of the few individuals to find a Merendon Palm-pit viper in the wild, drew international scientific attention to the conservation importance of the Sierra Caral in recent years. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Whitley Award for Conservation that recognizes outstanding nature conservationists around the world.
Speaking to the accomplishments of Carlos Vasquez Almazan, WLT patron Sir David Attenborough noted, “Surveys of the area uncovered not only species new to science, but also led to the rediscovery of several previously thought to have become extinct.”
If you are interested in learning more about the reserve check out this video showcasing efforts to save biodiversity in Sierra Caral.