Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Salamander reserve promotes sustainable community development

25 April, 2016 - 15:05 -- World Land Trust
Finca Chiblac Salamander (Bradytriton silus).
Community advocates.

Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO), Guatemalan partner of World Land Trust (WLT), is furthering community development, following the creation of a new reserve in Huehuetenango.

Obtaining the Yal Unin Yul Witz Protected Natural Reserve has been a significant achievement for FUNDAECO, who aim to conserve and protect natural resources in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

Involving communities

The reserve’s official name is a direct reference to the area’s incredible amphibian diversity and endemism; in the local language Q'anjob'al, salamanders are referred to as ‘sleeping child’ and the name Yal Unin Yul Witz means ‘Sleeping Child Between Mountains’.

Selecting the name in Q'anjob'al, which is the most spoken local language, supports local ownership and better assimilation with the surrounding community.

“This important effort among research academics, local conservationists and organizations that funds the protection of unique ecosystems will help avoid the rapid degradation of this unique biological treasure and fight against poverty supporting livelihoods for local communities” Marco Cerezo, General Director, FUNDAECO.


Initial management activities are being implemented and the construction of a mountain refuge will serve as a first phase to support general management, biological studies and surveillance activities.

FUNDAECO recently recruited a new Reserve Manager whose work is mostly focused on working with community leaders and surrounding landowners. This will help to ensure their support and participation in the implementation of sustainable strategies for habitat protection and community development.

Endemic amphibians

The consolidation of the Yal Unin Yul Witz reserve will ensure the protection of rare, endemic and threatened species in Guatemala, including Finca Chiblac Salamander (Bradytriton silus) and Black-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis moreletii), both classified as Critically Endangered by IUCN.

On the impact of the reserve Marco said “This is a great success for natural resources and conservation efforts in the Northern Region of Huehuetenango, as it will open the door to larger and better conservation efforts in the region of Guatemala with the highest amphibian diversity and endemism.”

More information

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WLT also supports conservation in Guatemala through the Keepers of the Wild programme, funding the salary of ranger Ricardo Coc Caal.

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Submitted by Dominic Belfield on

There you are, y'see look... Further to my comment posted a month of two back applauding the acquistion of more rainforest to help as reserves for endangered frogs.... What the world actually needs now is more space and habitat for amphibians... As opposed to the near insane scrabbling after myopic political concerns which seem to grip humanity so virulently.

These wonderful salamanders are acting as a focus for community development, they appear to be able to sincerely help humanise modern humans. I know this from my own limited experience with the pond in my garden. Here there reside both newts and frogs. They coexist, and they comprehensively enhance my life as well as the wider environs.

Ask yourself - have you ever trodden in frog pooh? Ever been in any real way inconvenienced by them? Okay the odd bout of croaking might perturb you maybe ( I love the sound, it has an antique quality reassuring in its regularity) but then look at the upsides - frogs eat slugs, mosquito larvae, ants too.

Hear me people! Had enough of the incessant idiotic racket produced in the course of the In/Out EU referendum? No? Well that's lucky 'cos you've got another two whole months of it to go! Mmmmmmm, how delightful... Not!

I still lobby - what we really require and desire is more exuberant nature, intact ecosystems, and the experience of an intelligence of an intrinsically earth-based sensibility. In a word - Frogs. (And salamanders - newt equivalents as where appropriate). Our priorities need a radical re-think.

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