A consortium of partners including the Amphibian Survival Alliance, Rainforest Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation and American Bird Conservancy have joined forces to enable local partner Fundación Jocotoco to purchase 6,100 acres of critical wildlife habitat in Ecuador, bringing the total area protected by this group to approximately 270,000 acres.
The new acquisition of the area called Antisanilla will provide a permanent refuge for three threatened species of frogs found nowhere else—Pristimantis acerus, Pristimantis ignicolor and Pristimantis lividus and a recent four-day survey resulted in a new record for the area of the endangered San Lucas Marsupial frog, Gastrotheca pseustes, a species that is restricted to Ecuador’s paramo grasslands above 6,500 feet. The area is also home to the largest single population of condors in the Northern Andes, and is also frequented by Cougars, Spectacled bears and the endangered Woolly tapir.
“The purchase of multiple properties around Volcan Antisana represents one of the greatest conservation victories ever in the Andes of South America,” said Dr. Robert Ridgely, President of Rainforest Trust and a driving force behind this conservation success.
The glaciers of the 3.5 mile high Antisana Volcano give way to unique highland steppe and descend into lush subtropical forests on the Andean slopes and into Amazonian rainforest. Located just 20 miles from Quito, this enormous but undeveloped area first attracted the attention of conservationists in the 1980s. The Ecuadorian government declared it an ecological reserve in 1993, but the area remained in private hands. Much of the land continued to be farmed, and wildlife was increasingly threatened by over-grazing, fires, and poaching.
Now, the mosaic of alpine grasslands, rugged canyons, and tropical forests has been purchased and will enjoy strict protection within the Antisana Ecological Reserve, forming one of the greatest protected areas in the Tropical Andes. Local partners will continue to survey for additional amphibian species and are in the process of developing a management plan to ensure that the environment is optimized for these rare species through measures such as removing cattle from fragile native grassland and curtailing poaching through patrolling by park guards.
Purchase 6,100 acres of critical wildlife habitat in Ecuador, bringing the total area protected by this group to approximately 270,000 acres.
Alpine grasslands, rugged canyons, and tropical forests.
Papallacta robber frog (Pristimantis acerus), Fire robber frog (Pristimantis ignicolor), Antisana robber frog (Pristimantis lividus) and San Lucas marsupial frog (Gastrotheca pseustes).
Condors, Cougars, Spectacled bears and the Eendangered Woolly tapir.
Over-grazing, fires, and poaching.
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