Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Chocó and other Rainforest, Colombia

Sun over Forest Paul Salaman

Chocó habitat extends from Panama, through north western Colombia and down into northern Ecuador. It is one of the world's wettest and most biodiverse habitats and holds many species at risk of extinction.

Find out what World Land Trust (WLT) is doing to save the Chocó and other rainforest in Colombia.

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Project Aim

In collaboration with programme partner ProAves, WLT aims to protect threatened Chocó Forest in Colombia and create a network of wildlife reserves.


ProAves »

How WLT is helping

In 2009 WLT helped to support the purchase of an extension to the El Pangan reserve. In 2011 ProAves became one of the partners to benefit from the Buy an Acre fund. Donations through this appeal now help purchase and protect reserves in some of the most threatened and most biodiverse areas of the Chocó. The purchase of strategic, pristine areas will ensure protection against further deforestation and habitat fragmentation.

Spectacled Bear by Paul Salaman
The Spectacled Bear is one of the many species found in this diverse habitat. Photo © ProAves

Biodiversity of the Chocó

The Chocó is known to be the wettest environment on the planet and contains one of the highest concentrations of endemic species. The forests are also known to hold an extremely high number of species unknown to science.

Particular species in the area include:


Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus), and Jaguar (Panthera onca).


The Endangered Baudo Guan (Penelope ortoni), Chocó Vireo (Vireo masteri), Banded Ground Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus) and Vulnerable Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger).


The Endangered Golden Poison Frog (Phyllobates terribilis).

Learn more about animals in our reserves »

Threats to the Chocó

Increased access to the area has led to a significant increase in threats such as: gold-mining, clearing of forest for colonisation, unsustainable timber and natural resource exploitation. The area is also under threat from illicit drug cultivation.

El Pangan Reserve, Colombia
El Pangan Reserve protects sub-tropical Chocó rainforest in southern Colombia. © ProAves

The reserves

El Pangan

El Pangan Reserve protects sub-tropical forest in the Chocó rainforests of southern Colombia . The reserve also protects the Spectacled Bear, Jaguar and the Blue Pangan Poison Arrow Frog, which is restricted to the area.

Zamarritos de Pinche

The reserve contains habitats ranging from lowland tropical forests to paramó habitat at higher elevations and lies within the heart of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot creating an important biological corridor. The reserve protects the Critically Endangered Gorgeted Puffleg (Eriocnemis isabellae) which was discovered and described in the area in 2007.

Rana Terribilis

In westernmost Colombia, WLT helped create the Rana Terribilis Amphibian Reserve in early 2012 to protect the Golden Poison Frog – considered the most poisonous vertebrate on Earth. The reserve lies in the Chocó Rainforest, situated along Colombia's pacific coast, one of the wettest tropical rainforests in the world. 


Giles-Fuertes Nature Reserve in an area of cloud forest in Central Colombia protects one of only two tiny surviving populations of Fuertes Parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi). Despite the protection of the parrot’s core breeding colony, the encroachment of pasturelands into sensitive cloud forests surrounding the reserve further threatens key foraging and nesting areas. In 2012 WLT and other conservation organisations helped ProAves double the size of Giles-Fuerte Nature Reserve by adding 363 acres (147 hectares) to the existing reserve. 

Las Tangaras

Las Tangaras is one of the most diverse tropical forest sites on earth. It consists of humid forest, wet forest and lower montane forest ranging from 1,250 to 3,400 metres above sea level. The reserve was formed in 2009 to protect the Black-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia melanochlamys) and the Golden-ringed Tanager (Bangsia aureocinta). In 2013, funds donated to WLT have been used to  extend the reserve.

Cotton-top Tamarin

Cotton-top Tamarin Reserve in north west Colombia is protecting two critically endangered primates, Cotton-Top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and Black-headed Spider Monkeys (Ateles fusciceps). Originally seven adjacent properties, the reserve was created in 2013 with funding from World Land Trust (WLT) and Rainforest Trust. Lying between the Darian highlands and the Colombian Andes, the reserve protects an area that is the last intact remnant of Uribe rainforest habitat. Measuring 5,691 acres (2,303 hectares), the reserve provides an additional safeguard against deforestation encroaching from a road on one side of the reserve.

El Dorado

El Dorado Nature Reserve boasts spectacular views of the towering glacier-covered peaks of Colombia's Sierra Nevada and the contrasting sands of Caribbean beaches. Named after the legendary city of gold, El Dorado is ProAves’ flagship reserve and hosts the highest concentration of continental range-restricted bird species found anywhere in the world. Its habitat is primary subtropical and montane forest of the Sierra Nevada and the reserve holds one of the highest concentrations of endemic and threatened amphibian species, with much of the flora and fauna being endemic.

Lora Carirosada

Lora Carirosada Reserve (or Reserva Natural de las Aves Lora Carirosada, to give it its full name in Spanish) is on the banks of the Atrato river and close to a proposed Regional Natural Park and indigenous reserves. The property, between 260 and 400 metres above sea level, is comprised of large areas of tropical rainforest with high rainfall and humidity. It is near Las Tangaras Reserve, which WLT has been supporting for some years.

Location of the Colombia Rainforest Reserves »

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