A new reserve in northern Colombia


Creation of Reserve Offers First Protection for Threatened Colombian Ecosystem
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(Bogotá, Colombia -. July 22 2014) ProAves, Rainforest Trust and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) have announced the creation of the Chamicero de Perijá Nature Reserve, the first protected area in northern Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá mountain range.

ProAves has acquired 11 adjacent properties that form the 1,850-acre Chamicero de Perijá Nature Reserve. The reserve’s establishment is extremely timely, as 98 percent of the Serranía de Perijá’s rainforests have already been destroyed due to colonization and agricultural expansion. The reserve protects a pristine cloud forest environment that includes critical habitat for threatened wildlife.

“Without this reserve, the chances are high that within a few years nothing would be left of the spectacular forests that once covered Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, CEO of Rainforest Trust.

Due to a history of difficulties conducting research in the area, the Serranía de Perijá remains one of the least-known natural environments in the Northern Andes. Field research by ProAves, however, has confirmed its importance as a stronghold for many endemic and rapidly declining species.

“ProAves has been working in the Serranía de Perijá for almost a decade in an effort to protect its last forested areas. Thanks to our alliance with Rainforest Trust and GWC, we’ve finally achieved a lasting victory for the region’s imperiled wildlife,” said Luis Felipe Barrera, Director of Conservation for ProAves.

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New research has established the presence of three endangered and endemic species,the Perijá Thistletail, Perijá Metaltail, and the Perijá Brush-finch. Several other bird species have also been discovered, including a new Brush-finch, Tapaculo, Screech-owl, and Spinetail.

“The new reserve is globally important, as it is recognized as anAlliance for Zero Extinction site. The incredible fauna and flora include many species found nowhere else in the world,” said Dr. Wes Sechrest, Chief Scientist and CEO of Global Wildlife Conservation.

The Chamicero de Perijá Nature Reserve will protect one of the best-preserved tracts of forest remaining in Colombia’s Serranía de Perijá. It also protects two watersheds that are vital for the city of Valledupar and several towns in the otherwise arid Cesar Department.

“This reserve is a win for everyone. Not only is it going to be a permanent lifeline for the region’s many endemic species that have nowhere else to go, but it is also a major victory for nearby cities and towns that will benefit for years from the water it provides,” said Dr. Salaman.

ProAves, Rainforest Trust, and GWC would like to extend thanks to all donors and partners that helped raise funds, especially the Our Children’s Earth Foundation and the Sangreal Foundation.

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Rainforest Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving rainforest and endangered species in partnership with local conservation leaders and indigenous communities. Since its founding in 1988, Rainforest Trust has saved nearly 8 million acres of rainforests and other tropical habitats in 73 projects across 20 tropical countries.

Global Wildlife Conservation GWC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit conservation organization whose mission is to protect endangered species and habitats through science-based field action. GWC conserves the world’s most endangered species and their habitats through exploration, research, and conservation. By maximizing effectiveness through collaboration, GWC unites with the world’s leading conservation organizations, universities, zoological and botanical organizations, and museums.

ProAves is a Colombian NGO dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through research, outreach and direct conservation actions in collaboration with local communities.

Contacts

Fundación ProAves
Ivón Alzate, ialzate@proaves.org

RainforestTrust
Joe Lowe, joe@rainforesttrust.org

Global Wildlife Conservation
Ana Denman, adenman@globalwildlife.org

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