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Conservation charity appeal to save Ecuador’s wildlife

Wildlife conservation charity, World Land Trust (WLT) has launched a campaign to save the tropical forest in the Amazonian Andes which is under threat and in urgent need of protection. Plans to build a road that would lead to habitat destruction would be devastating for the hundreds of species that live there.

The Amazonian Andes, located between the wildlife rich Amazon basin and the Andes Mountain Range, is one of the richest habitats on Earth. However, as the clearance of rainforests for agricultural purposes intensifies, the patches of natural habitat that remain are increasingly isolated from each other, and only secure in parks or reserves under national protection.

It is therefore vital to maintain the connections between these areas to allow species like the Harpy Eagle, Spectacled Bear and less widely ranging species such as amphibians, to move between forest areas.

One of these critical corridors is the land that lies between the nationally protected areas of the Antisana Ecological Reserve and Sumaco Galeras National Park in the Napo Province of northeast Ecuador, and Narupa Reserve, a 2,800 acre wildlife reserve under the management of WLT’s Ecuadorian partner Fundación Jocotoco. However, as this land is not currently under protection, the local government have announced plans to build a road into the forest to increase access for agriculture and development. The rapid deforestation that would follow will have a devastating impact on local wildlife.

Dr Richard Cuthbert, Director of Conservation at WLT, says, “Our partner in Ecuador, Fundación Jocotoco, have been in close discussion with the local government who have agreed that the road will not be developed if the area can be purchased and designated for wildlife conservation. We have a small window of time to purchase this area and keep this vital wildlife corridor intact.”

Martin Schaefer, Executive Director of Fundación Jocotoco, adds “The principal use of the road would be to allow access for agriculture, which would result in the destruction of the corridor between Narupa and the national protected areas used by Amazonian and Andean species. The reserve would be turned into an island, which at its current size of 1,200 hectares would not be able to sustain healthy populations of a large number of the species which currently live there, such as the Harpy Eagle and Military Macaw.”

You can find more information and donate online to save the Amazonian Andes at worldlandtrust.org/amazonianandes, by phone (01986 874422) or text AMAZ18 to 70070 with a donation up to £10.

Main image: White-throated toucan (WLT)

Photo: Spectacled Bear – Kurisu Mills

Photo: Harpy Eagle – cuatrok77-Flickr

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