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

Earth Day 2023: Celebrating 20 years of ProAves El Pangán Reserve, a refuge for biodiversity and a paradise for conservation

2 May, 2023


Every April 22, the world celebrates Earth Day, with the aim of raising awareness about issues such as climate change, species loss, and pollution. This day serves as a reminder for organizations around the world to promote responsible actions in harmony with nature.

Earth Day 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of ProAves acquiring the first plots of land to establish the ProAves El Pangán Reserve, which has since been committed to the perpetual protection and conservation of this majestic ecosystem and its wonderful species.

In 2003, our first ProAves Nature Reserve was established: the ProAves El Pangán Reserve, with the support of BirdLife International and Conservation International, in partnership with  the Strategic Ecosystem Alliance Fund (CEPF) program.

Thanks to the ProAves Trust Fund, a dedicated and passionate team of rangers has sustained protection of this reserve from unprecedented threats such as illegal logging, trafficking of endangered amphibians for the illegal pet trade, multiple oil spills due to illegal handling, and land invasion for illicit crop production. Working in partnership with local indigenous communities has been crucial in helping to protect natural resources in this area.

The El Pangán Reserve is located in the foothills of the western Cordillera of the Andes in the municipality of Barbacoas, department of Nariño. This protected area is also located within the biogeographic region of Chocó, one of the habitats with the highest number of endemism on the continent. Therefore, this Natural Reserve is among the 25 regions in the world classified as priorities for nature conservation and is designated as a Biodiversity Hotspot. Currently, this conservation area covers hundreds of key hectares for the protection of fauna and flora in the country.

The presence of species such as the Mache glass frog (Cochranella mache), which had only been reported in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, and Chocó, is a testament to the high biodiversity of this territory. In addition, the amphibian Pristimantis ornatissimus, previously thought to be endemic to Ecuador, was first recorded in Colombia in this reserve.

This incredible reserve boasts an incredible biodiversity of over 350 species of birds, including 21 threatened, 2 endangered, 13 almost threatened, 4 vulnerable, and 49 endemic species. No other protected area of comparable size within the Andean Biodiversity Evaluation (EBA) harbors populations of so many restricted-range bird species, making it one of the highest priority ecosystems for conservation.

Thanks to all the donors, communities, and organizations that have joined this conservation dream, which began with the establishment of the ProAves El Pangán Reserve and has since evolved into the formation of 27 Natural Reserves throughout the country to preserve the most threatened terrestrial species and contribute to the care of the planet.