International wildlife conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT) has launched an urgent appeal to raise £30,000 to save a new species of hummingbird. The blue-throated hillstar was discovered last year on a remote series of mountaintops in southern Ecuador but is already in critical danger of extinction.
Mining corporations have gained the rights to mine for metals such as copper, gold, and lead from the hillstar’s habitat – a disaster for local wildlife.
WLT has launched the Save the Blue-throated Hillstar appeal to enable partner Naturaleza y Cultura Ecuador (NCE) to extend a Water Protection Area to include the hillstar’s 70,000 acre range. This will create a government-protected area where mining will be illegal.
“This is a unique opportunity to save a critically endangered species from extinction,” says Richard Cuthbert, Director of Conservation at WLT. “If we do not act now, mining corporations can move in on the habitat and create a mine which would most likely wipe out the hillstar population.
“This situation is the perfect example of why habitat conservation is so important. Habitat loss is one of the greatest causes of species extinction worldwide, and for every habitat we lose, we eliminate a stronghold for numerous plant and animal species. For species such as the Blue-throated Hillstar, with such a small range, this can mean extinction. The fact that we are continuing to discover new species in habitats facing threats like mining shows that we may not even be aware of the ecological damage these activities are causing.”
As well as the Blue-throated Hillstar, a new species of frog, the Tik Tik rain frog, was also discovered in August, with the habitat also home to spectacled bear, mountain tapir and the Andean Condor.
For more information and to donate online to save the Blue-throated Hillstar go to worldlandtrust.org/hillstar