Selective illegal logging in the El Pangán ProAves Reserve, located in the department of Nariño, Colombia, is devastating one of the most important ecosystems on the planet and the species that live there: 21 species of amphibians distributed in 6 families and 17 species of reptiles distributed in 7 families, 360 species of birds, and 36 species of mammals.

The Colombian bio-geographic Chocó has one of the most significant biodiversities in the country and has a great variety of endemisms in the various biological groups. For this reason, this site is among the 25 regions of the world classified as a priority for nature conservation, which is why it has been called a Biodiversity Hotspot and is also part of the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).

ProAves Reserve, critically endan- gered

The ProAves El Pangán Reserve, home to the spectacular sky blue morph of Oophaga sylvatica, has one of the most diverse and spectacular species richness in Colombia. To date, a diversity of 25 species of frogs, 9 species of lizards and 12 different species of snakes have been registered. Moreover, 29 species of threatened birds and 53 are endemic to the biogeographic Chocó, which constitutes the largest concentration of endemic birds in the world. Additionally, there are 94 species of butterflies, of which 28 are endemic to the region, and 19 known as the rarest species in the country.

The Reserve also has populations of one of the finest trees on the planet, the Chanul (Humiriastrum procerum), a species native to Colombia and Ecuador categorized as Critically Endangered according to the Red Book of timber species. Although Colombian regulations prohibit the exploitation and commercialization of any endangered species, Chanul continues to be heavily exploited because its wood is very hard.

Colombian biodiversity under serious threat

Due to the great biodiversity found in the ProAves El Pangán Reserve, unscrupulous people have seen the natural resources of all Colombians as a great business opportunity and have invaded the Reserve to cut down the Chanul and commercialize it illegally. Every day these people enter the farms heavily armed, extract Chanul wood from the interior of the forest and transport it by means of a handmade winch to the outside of the forests, as you can see in this video.

Fundación ProAves has denounced the constant attacks on different occasions to the Nariño Regional Autonomous Corporation (CORPONAR- IÑO), the Nariño Government, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the National Army and the National Police. Even though, these actions have not been enough to stop the serious environ- mental damage against the tropical rainforests of the Pacific Nariñense, so the biological heritage of all Colombians is rapidly disappearing. ProAves makes an agonizing call to the competent authorities and the entire community to support us by signing this petition and stop this great threat to the environment and the thousands of species that live there.

By Paula Stella, Fundación ProAves (Colombia)

Photo: Fundación ProAves