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.
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.
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.”
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