Community Organizing Protects Wildlife

We are excited to announce that Las Tangaras ProAves Reserve will be officially recognized as a Colombian Regional Park! In addition to this new government-protected status, the reserve will also expand its area by 3,500 hectares (8,649 acres).This new federal status will make Las Tangaras Reserve part of the National System of Protected Areas of Colombia (SINAP), and provide us with additional resources to uphold their strict conservation requirements.

Women for Conservation and ProAves have been supporting community conservation initiatives in communities around the reserve since its creation in 2009. As sister organizations, ProAves manages habitat protection and facilitated this new federal park status, while Women for Conservation partners with local women to promote grass-roots community conservation initiatives. The alliances we have formed with local leaders have allowed us to have incredible community support and involvement, which has solidified our status as a leading authority for protecting endangered and endemic wildlife in the region. Community support with identifying and registering wildlife in the region has been key to our conservation success, and has given us the comprehensive data we needed to receive this federal park status.

Women for Conservation (W4C) has supported ProAves through our community outreach conservation programs. W4C has directly trained and employed forest guard Fanny Mosqueras to work at the reserve, and has also supported youth environmental education. We have partnered with woman artisans from local Embera Kativa indigenous communities and support women’s business endeavors by selling their artisanal jewelry in our 10 Nature Reserve gift shops. We have also built strong rapport in the community of Carmen de Atrato, by facilitating free access to reproductive healthcare and education, at the request of community leaders. All of these community initiatives mutually benefit local communities while supporting wildlife conservation, and have been key to our success at Las Tangaras ProAves Reserve.

Along with new federal park protections, ProAves signed an agreement in collaboration with CODECHOCÓ, which will significantly expand the cloud forest habitat we protect for endangered wildlife in the Cordillera Occidental region. This new expansion contains approximately 3,500 hectares largely covered in cloud forests, and also protects the headwaters of several tributary streams of the Atrato River. This mountainous region contains a high diversity of habitat, which is home to several species of amphibians, birds, and plants endemic to Colombia, which are threatened by livestock encroachment and deforestation.

The Tangaras Reserve area was created by ProAves to protect two endemic bird species in danger of extinction: the Gold-ringed Tanager (Bangsia aureocincta) and the Black-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia melanochlamys), both categorized as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List. It is also home to 28 vertebrate species of conservation interest, 20 of which are endemic to Colombia, and 10 of which are under some category of threat, including some at risk of extinction as is the case of the Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus).

This process of federal recognition and expansion will be financed by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) through the “Conserve Birds, Territory of Life” fund, in collaboration with the Bezos Earth Fund, and the “Latin American Reserve Stewardship Initiative (LARSI)” fund, in collaboration with the March Conservation Fund (MCF).

While Las Tangaras is our first ProAves Reserve to receive federal park status, we are in the process of organizing these protections for two more reserves for critically endangered wildlife. We look forward to sharing more successes with you as we continue to realize our dream of protecting endangered species through community engagement in the Choco rainforest Region and across Colombia. Thank you for supporting our work!

Community Organizing Protects Wildlife: Thanks to our partners!

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