Photo Credit: Jaime Garcia

Conservation of Endangered Species in the Chocó Biogeographic Zone: Integrating habitat management, biological monitoring, and community outreach


Conservation Problem

The Chocó biogeographic zone is among the most diverse in the world, with exceptional richness and endemism of plants, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies.

The Black-breasted Puffleg and nine species of globally threatened amphibians have been recorded in the project area. Given the dramatic decline in amphibians world-wide, it is astounding that so many species are still found in this small area. This is a testament to the extent and complexity of the water systems in the area, the fact that they were relatively undisturbed until this century, and to local conservation efforts.

Unfortunately, there have been no sustained region-wide efforts directed towards the conservation of waterways. Since agriculture, ranching, and trout farms are important activities in the area, changes in water chemistry, caudal diversion, and river bank destruction are ever-present threats. As human populations increase in the area, there is a growing need for water, the same water that is the only home for a variety of endangered frog species. Community outreach and practical assistance are needed to help communities in planning for long-term management and protection of their most valuable natural resource.

Project activities

This SOS - Save Our Species project, implemented by the Universidad Tecnológica de Indoamérica (UTI), will focus on both the nine species of endangered amphibians and the Black-breasted Puffleg.

For the Endangered amphibians the activities will focus on identifying specific threats to the creek systems, implementing practical ways to conserve waterways, enhancing waterways through reforestation and conducting systematic surveys (to determine species abundance and presence of chytrid fungus).

For the Black-breasted Puffleg, the activities will consist in planting six hectares of a combination of food-species, collecting data on puffleg activities, and preparing education modules to help local people identify and conserve the species

Project Outcomes

The main goals of this project are to enhance the conservation of nine species of Endangered amphibians, by improving their critical habitat and monitoring their populations; and to enrich and expand the habitat for the Critically Endangered Black-Breasted Puffleg.

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