The future of the endangered El Oro Parakeet is now more secure thanks to the Jocotoco Foundation, the World Land Trust's partner organisation in Ecuador.
The El Oro Parakeet, which was new to science in 1988* is found only in a small area of the Andes in southern Ecuador, and the forest of one of its main breeding and feeding areas has already been cleared for cattle pasture. However, the Jocotoco Foundation, with financial support from the World Land Trust has been able to buy this area of pasture, as a major step in safeguarding the future of the parakeet.
The pasture is surrounded by the Buenaventura Reserve, which is already owned by the Jocotoco Foundation, and according to Dr Nigel Simpson "This latest purchase consolidates our activities, and makes the future of this endangered species considerably more secure. It's not totally safe, as its population is so small, but we hope numbers will increase as the forest regenerates".
Dr Simpson was a founder of the Jocotoco Foundation, which is run by Ecuadorian conservationists, and is also a Trustee of the Suffolk-based World Land Trust.
Experience has shown that when areas of recently cleared land is allowed to regenerate, the forest can grow back remarkably fast. This is because the seeds of the trees are still present, and much of the other flora still survives. And if, as in the present case, the pasture is surrounded by protected forest, then the wildlife soon recolonises.
While there is so much forest being lost worldwide, it may seem inconsequential buying 100 acres here, 1000 acres there, but if the land is carefully selected, it can make the difference between the survival of a species and its extinction. One of the reserves created in this way is thought to have over 1000 species of orchid, including many endangered and many as yet unknown to science.
* An old specimen in London's Natural History museum suggests it once occurred lower down in the Andes, in an area now cleared of forest.