American Bird Conservancy, World Land Trust, and their Colombian partner Fundación ProAves, have inaugurated a new reserve to protect one of the last strongholds for the endangered Gold-ringed Tanager. Worldwide, the bird is known to inhabit only five locations, all along 150 miles of ridge top on the Pacific slope of the western Andes of Colombia.
Following field surveys in 2008 and 2009, Fundación ProAves determined there were as few as 500 Gold-ringed Tanagers remaining, with a critical population of up to 50 pairs identified 50 miles southwest of Medellin, Colombias second largest city. This location became the target area for creating a new reserve. Four properties in the area were immediately acquired, followed by the purchase of 12 more properties soon after to create the 7,076 acre Tanagers Reserve.
The reserve, owned and operated by Fundación ProAves, is expected to be a major attraction to visiting birdwatchers, ornithologists, and nature tourists. The area boasts remarkable opportunities for birding (over 250 species documented at the reserve so far) in a country that is home to more avian species than any other on the planet. A spacious, eight-bedroom lodge, a house for staff, and a restaurant featuring a balcony overlooking the nearby river were recently constructed.
Other important species found in the reserve include the endangered Choco Vireo, Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, and Yellow-eared Parrot, and the vulnerable Black-and-Gold Tanager and Toucan Barbet.
The Chocó area of western Colombia is renowned for its boundless, lush, humid forests. Unfortunately, more people are colonizing the area and logging huge swaths of land. The reserve is located alongside the main thoroughfare to Medellin from the coast, which is scheduled to be paved. Road development projects such as this inevitably lead to greater colonization and development.
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