Fundación ProAves – por la conservación en el país de las aves

Deforestation is Threatening the Unique Habitat for the Tolimense Poison Frog

2 July, 2021


The deforestation of tropical moist forests in the buffer zones of the Ranita Dorada ProAves Reserve, located in the mountains of the Falan municipality, in the Tolima department, threatens the biodiversity of the conserved area, in which 2 species of frogs are found: the Tolimense poison frog (Andinobates tolimensis) and the dotted poison frog (andinobates dorisswansonae) endemic to Colombia and categorized as Vulnerable (VU) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In the last few decades, the transformation of native forests in areas dedicated to deforestation have become the main threat to habitat for many species that depend on these conservation areas for survival. After many years of significant environmental destruction, the Fundación ProAves acquired the property that makes up the Ranita Dorada ProAves Reserve. It succeeded in a notable regeneration of native plant species in primary and secondary succession in what used to be paddocks, ultimately recuperating part of the habitat for various amphibious, mammal and bird species. 

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The Ranita Dorada ProAves Reserve, established in 2008 to prevent the extinction of the Andinobates tolimensis and the Andinobates dorisswansonae, is considered an area of exceptional ecological importance. Here, any disturbance in the natural area has the potential to create an irreparable environmental disequilibrium, triggering the loss of unique species, especially amphibians. The latter are exceptionally sensitive to environmental changes. Until now, Andinobates tolimensis has only been registered in the locality it was first discovered in 2007, the ProAves Reserve, which is the only habitat of the Tolimense poison frog. 

Unfortunately, as of late, new deforestation activities are underway in an area adjacent to the Ranita Dorada ProAves Reserve, posing a real menace to the conservation efforts in progress there. The Fundación ProAves of Colombia makes an urgent call to the right entities so that they help us disseminate this dire situation, and help stop this great threat against the environment and, against the thousands of species that live in this area.

We appreciate the great support of IUCN, Dendrobatidae Nederland, Conservation International, Netherlands Postcode Lottery, and ASG for making this dream of saving the Tolimense poison frog a reality.

News translated by Sophie Maas