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

ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT! Bulldozers are destroying the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

31 March, 2015


carretera5Bulldozers open roads damaging the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Gaira River Basin (main tributary of the aqueduct of Santa Marta) and INSIDE El Dorado Bird Reserve, irreplaceable natural treasures of Colombia and the world.

On March 30, 2015, more than 50 people from ProAves and the resident community of Sierra will stop three bulldozers opening roads amid the majesty of the landscape for the illegal sale of lots for vacation homes

Damages specifically stipulated in:

  • Allocation of Gaira River Basin. Currently most of the South of Santa Marta corresponding to the tourism sector from El Rodadero, Gaira, and the airport is supplied by surface source of the  Gaira River.
  • Usurpation and direct damage of a Civil Society Reserve area protected in perpetuity and linked to the National System of Protected Areas SINAP and home to one of the highest concentrations of endemic or unique species of birds in the world.


The Gaira river starts at a height of 2,750 m in the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo, in an area which corresponds to a transition from subtropical wet forest and low mountain wet forests. It has a length of approximately 32.53 km from its source to its mouth in the Caribbean Sea.

  • Habitat fragmentation, continuity of the resident birds habitat is lost, especially of the endemic birds.
  • Nesting sites and food for birds and other groups were altered.
  • Recovery of the felled forest takes at least 30 years .
  • Besides the photos that are attached to the complaint, demonstrate that there was no environmental permit to advance this road, the general and technical requirements stipulated in Decree August 5, 2010. “Whereby Title VII regulates Act 99 of 1993 on environmental permits” were never met.

“These jobs within the Bird Reserve El Dorado property of ProAves, brought on by Mr. MICHAEL WEBERS, of German origin and foriegner’s identification of Mexico and member of the La Victoria Coffee Company, who argues that this land belongs to him.

The damage caused by Mr WEBER, is of great impact directly affecting all conservation processes National Parks and ProAves have done in this important area for decades.

Lets recall that in 2013, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was ranked as the most important for conservation in the world and home to the recently rediscovered Blue-bearded Helmetcrest Hummingbird.

Specifically, the El Dorado Reserve has more than 300 species of birds, including some of particular importance for their unique species, but unfortunately are endangered like the Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata), the Flytrap Santa Marta (Myiotheretes pernix) and Sabrewing Santa Marta (Santamartamys rufodorsalis), additionally in 2011 and then after 113 years, the Red-crested tree rat  (Santamartamys rufodorsalis)  was rediscoveredhere.

For values ​​like these the reserve is listed as a Alliance Zero Extinction Site ( ) by more than 50 international organizations and an important area for bird conservation by BirdLife International ( This reserve is part of Chundúa District Biogeographic Province of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and an Endemic Bird Area (EBA 036). On this important site there are protected areas for more than 40 species of migratory birds like the Golden-winged Warbler  (Vermivora chrysoptera)and the Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga  cerulea).

We firmly believe that unless urgent action is taken to stop the destructive plans of Mr. MICHAEL WEBER the damage caused, in one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet, can hardly be repaired.

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