By safeguarding a 1,200-hectare remnant of humid lowland forest in the Magdalena valley, this reserve provides critical habitat for a core population of Colombia’s most enigmatic species: the Critically Endangered blue-billed curassow (Crax alberti
), known locally as “El Paujíl.” An important symbol in ancient Pre-Colombian indigenous culture, this bird was virtually unknown to outsiders until an expedition in 2003 located a viable population here.
Annual monitoring has shown that the curassow population has increased by 20 percent each year since the reserve was established by the Colombian bird conservation group, Fundación ProAves, with support from the American Bird Conservancy and the Global Conservation Fund (GCF).
Although the focus here is preventing the extinction of birds, El Paujil also is a stronghold for the Critically Endangered variegated spider-monkey (Ateles hybridus) and provides wintering habitat for many migrating bird species.
This nature reserve is one of a network of eight ProAves reserves throughout the fragile ecosystems of the Colombian Andes meant to protect the last remaining habitats of some of the world’s most threatened birds.
In June 2008, ProAves and GCF announced the creation of an endowment fund to manage all eight reserves in the long term. 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.
Related video from Fundación ProAves:
"The last stronghold of the enigmatic Blue-billed Curassow"