Ecuador has just declared the protection of Río Negro – Sopladora National Park, the country’s first national park in almost a decade.
This 75,654 acre reserve fills a large gap in a Páramo and Cloud Forest corridor down the eastern Andes between the Sangay and Podocarpus National Parks, and a recent survey of its extensive wildlife has revealed three species new to science (one frog, one caecilian and one salamander).
World Land Trust’s (WLT) partner Nature and Culture International (NCI) has played a large part in the establishment of this reserve, working with municipal governments, the Ministry of Environment, and local communities to secure community and political support.
Renzo Paladines, NCI’s Executive Director of Latin America, said, “This new National Park is one of the most important results of the long and fruitful collaboration between the Ministry of Environment, NCI and the local communities and authorities in conserving the Sangay – Podocarpus Corridor, one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet."
NCI explained the importance of this ecological milestone in a statement, saying “NCI also carried out a Rapid Biological Assessment showing this 75,654 acre region of Páramo and Cloud Forest ecosystems to be unique for its biodiversity and endemism, and also for having dramatic altitude changes over short distances.
“These dramatic altitude gradients encourage the evolution of diverse species and provide what some have called a critical ‘escape valve’ for climate change – an upward migration path to cooler temperatures to help species survive as the Earth warms.”
The Rapid Biological Assessment recorded 43 species of mammals in the area, including charismatic and threatened species such as the Spectacled Bear, Mountain Tapir and Andean Condor. NCI’s statement added that there were 546 species of plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals recorded overall, with high levels of endemism and three new amphibian species (one salamander, one frog and one caecilian).
WLT has worked with NCI’s branch in Ecuador (NCE) to protect other areas within the Sangay – Podocarpus Corridor. Nangaritza Reserve, which contains foothill forests close to Podocarpus National Park, recently had a 447 acre extension funded by the Buy an Acre programme.
Connecting large protected areas such as national parks is very important for maintaining the health of a wildlife population, and by donating £25 to the Buy an Acre programme you can save a quarter of an acre of habitat in this region for bears, tapirs and other endangered species.