Monday 21 January 2008.
There are many priority sites for conservation in the world, but there is a site international recognized by over 60 conservation organizations worldwide through the Alliance for Zero Extinction, which is the most important site in terms of extreme concentration of endemic and endangered bird and amphibian species. The NW mountain spur of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Northern Colombia looms above the Caribbean coastal cities of Santa Marta and Rodadero. While just 10-15 km from the cities, this small ridge contains a fragment of humid forest that is gravely threatened and under protected.
”For over 100 years, the San Lorenzo area has been explored by biologists to provide an extraordinary catalogue of endemic species restricted to the forest on the ridge,” said Alonso Quevedo, President of Fundación ProAves. “Today, we know that the San Lorenzo forest boosts the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species in the world, with 21 endemics such as the Santa Marta Parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata) and Santa Marta Antpitta (Grallaria bangsi). In 2007, a new species of owl was discovered, and some of the over 50 endemic subspecies of birds were shown to warrant species status”.
Furthermore, amphibians, butterflies, plants, and other groups show exceptional levels of endemism. One example of this biodiversity is Atelopus nahumae, a frog that is critically endangered.
“The surviving forest fragment is a biodiversity oasis,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), “but it was at high risk of deforestation, vacation home developments, and an invasion of non-native pines into native broadleaf forests.”
Considering this situation, Fundación ProAves in Colombia launched a campaign to protect the area. With support from ABC, Conservation International (CI) and others, ProAves has acquired various properties to protect over 1700 acres of one of the world’s most unique living jewel, and named after the legendary city of gold, El Dorado for its phenomenal biological value. “And, with the support of CorpaMag,” said Alonso Quevedo, “ProAves is now replacing the aggressive pines with native trees of the Sierra Nevada and ensuring the finest water for cities on the coast.”
On January 18, 2008, ProAves, ABC, CI and others launched the El Dorado Reserve at the spectacular “Sierra Nevada EcoCentro”, a set of ecotourism facilities to help sustain the reserve, consisting of the spacious Jeniam Ecolodge and the Blue Moon restaurant.
El Dorado is located between 2900 and 8500 feet above sea level and situated in the midst of a stunning landscape of dense forests, with views to the tall peaks and glaciers of the Sierra Nevada and down to the Caribbean beaches and mangroves of Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta.
With the support of: