July 2, 2010 | With the support of the Nature and Culture Ecuador Foundation (FUNACE), we recently purchased an additional 4,460 acres in southwestern Ecuador for the Cazaderos Natural Reserve, helping to protect a pristine and endangered area of Tumbesian dry forest. The reserve now totals nearly 13,300 acres and forms a critical corridor between the La Ceiba Reserve, nearby community reserves and the Biosphere Reserve of Northwestern Peru.
This connectivity is important for the survival of endemic flora and fauna that live in this isolated and small area, which are currently threatened due to production of biofuels and other degradation activities. Many iconic species live in this area, including the Mantled howler monkey, the Peccary and the Boa constrictor in addition to deer, pumas and many of the most threatened bird species of the region.
According to our botanist Eduardo Cueva, there are several possibilities in this forest for discovery of new plant species, some of which could have medicinal benefits for humans. We have submitted proposals to the San Diego Zoo and the Rotary Clubs of San Diego in order to raise funds for the management of this area, and meetings have already begun at the community level in this region of southwestern Ecuador with the goal of explaining to the local people our intention of collaboratively protecting and managing these areas.