We’re delighted to announce that our Life of the Edge appeal has reached its £1,430,000 target!
Thanks to your support and generous donations, our partner – Fundación EcoMinga – can now double the size of the Anzu and Zúñac reserves in Ecuador’s upper Río Pastaza watershed.
Your donations will allow the two reserves to be expanded, with the aim of connecting them to a critical biological corridor for the very first time, saving precious forest habitat from irrevocable damage and protecting an array of species – some that are living on the brink of extinction and others that may be yet unknown to science.
In a time where this extraordinary landscape is under serious threat from the oil, timber and agriculture industries, your support is more important than ever and will have a great impact on the life in these unique foothill forests.
WHAT YOUR DONATIONS WILL DO
WLT has been working with Fundación EcoMinga in Ecuador’s upper Río Pastaza watershed since 2007.
WLT supporters have already helped Fundación EcoMinga to safeguard around 7,000 ha (17,300 acres) of vital habitat here and our partner currently manages 10 reserves including the Río Machay, which was funded by our 2015 Big Match Fortnight appeal, Forests in the Sky. Río Machay filled in the last gap in the Llanganates-Sangay Corridor, connecting two national parks and forming part of a vast network of protected areas that stretches along the Ecuadorian Andes at nearly twice the size of Cyprus.
With your support, EcoMinga’s vital work at Río Zúñac and Río Anzu will continue. Here is what your donations to Life on the Edge have already achieved and will help to make a reality over the coming years:
• A 500 ha (1,235.5-acre) property has already been purchased at Río Zúñac. This property now connects a currently separated portion of Río Zúñac with the main body of the reserve and will continue to strengthen its connection with the Llanganates National Park.
• The purchase of further properties to expand Río Anzu by 586 ha (1,448 acres) between 2022-2026. The aim is to form a single contiguous protected landscape with six separate nearby reserves. As you will see in the map below, this would connect all the reserves with Llanganates National Park for the first time, allowing wildlife to travel safely between Anzu and Zúñac.
• Ultimately expanding Anzu and Zúñac by a combined total of 2,073 ha (5,123 acres). By joining with Fundación EcoMinga’s other supporters as part of a wider project, this expansion will double the amount of land protected by the two reserves and expand the Llanganates-Sangay Corridor.
Continuing this theme of firsts, every donation you made to Life on the Edge during Big Match Fortnight (12-26 October 2022) was matched to triple its gift value for the very first time! Every donation truly means so much and with your generous contributions tripled, we can now go even further in protecting the area that Fundación EcoMinga President, Lou Jost, aptly described as an “evolutionary island”.
SAVING PLANTS AND ANIMALS IN A BIODIVERSITY HAVEN
The upper Río Pastaza watershed is a place of unprecedented beauty and biodiversity. It is home to more endemic plant species than the Galapagos Islands and despite being just roughly half the size of London, close to 100 species of plants and animals have been discovered here since WLT started working with Foundación EcoMinga in 2007.
New species of frogs, toads, orchids and magnolias have all been discovered in Zúñac. In fact, a single field trip to the reserve in 2021 revealed five tree species new to science, four of which have a home range of just 8km² or less. Proving, once again, just how vital it is to protect these forests and these unique endemic species. Each hectare that you now help Fundación EcoMinga save through this appeal could be home to a species which has not yet been discovered!
Alongside the new species being discovered, Anzu and Zúñac are home to many threatened species – including the Mountain Tapir, Spectacled Bear and Black-and-chestnut eagle. These magnificent animals live with the constant threat of their habitat being destroyed but your generosity will now hand them a vital lifeline – an accomplishment that cannot be underestimated.
The area around Río Anzu is also home to the iconic – yet elusive – Jaguar. Very few people have seen these animals in the wild, but Fundación EcoMinga’s wardens were recently lucky enough to spot one for the first time on the road to the Río Anzu reserve. You can see their photos of the sighting here. It’s difficult for predators like the Jaguar to survive in this area, due to the agricultural land that is encroaching on the forests and the conflicts that arise with humans. As Lou Jost says, their best hope is “the existence of very large, protected areas, with protected corridors connecting them.” This is exactly what EcoMinga are working to do in the Rio Anzu areas and what your Life on the Edge donations will help towards.
From all of us at WLT and our partner Fundación EcoMinga, we want to say a final, massive Thank You!
We are hugely appreciative of your ongoing support and any donation that you have been able to make to Life on the Edge, especially as we all navigate through the rising cost of living and the difficulties that it brings.
By helping Fundación EcoMinga expand their Río Anzu and Río Zúñac reserves, you’re protecting some of the most biodiverse land on Earth and the threatened species that call it home. Together, we are making a difference, and we can’t wait to keep you updated with Fundación EcoMinga’s ongoing progress at these extraordinary reserves.