The Global Conservation Fund (GCF) and bird conservation group Fundación ProAves teamed up to give some of Colombia’s most threatened mountain inhabitants a boost through an endowment providing permanent protection to eight nature reserves.
The Colombian Alliance for Zero Extinction Protected Areas Trust will enable field staff in each of the reserves to undertake regular patrolling, biological monitoring and community outreach.
GCF provided $750,000 to help capitalize the endowment that will allow ProAves to maintain reserves protecting more than 1,000 bird species, including 59 of 80 globally threatened birds in Colombia.
Among the species that will benefit directly are the colorful puffleg (Eriocnemis mirabilis), one of the world’s most threatened hummingbirds, and Fuertes’s parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi), a bird so rare that it was considered “lost” for 91 years before being rediscovered in 2002. The sites are also important for many migratory birds and an array of non-bird species found nowhere else.
The reserves protect primary forest and are integral to the restoration of fragmented and cleared landscapes, the benefits of which extend far beyond the recovery of threatened biodiversity. Healthy tropical forests play an important role in mitigating and adapting to global climate change by removing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Additionally, benefits for the local communities include revenue from ecotourism and efforts such as the training of women near the El Paujil Nature Reserve to make sustainable handicrafts.