26 March 2019 UPDATE: FANTASTIC: Supporters DID IT - £30,000 raised in record time!
The World Land Trust has achieved a great deal to protect natural habitats since its foundation.
Hot on the heels of their successes from 2018, they have a new appeal.
There’s a protected area currently covering 195,000 acres in southern Ecuador. However, if we all dig in and help with a donation, this area could be extended by about 74,000 acres.
This area is very important to a very rare Hummingbird species, the Blue-throated Hillstar. The species is only seen in the western Andes of southern Ecuador on a few remote mountaintops. Hillstars have adapted to live at high elevations in the Andes. The Blue-throated Hillstar’s range is small, restricted to the páramo (that’s alpine shrubland) habitat of a few mountains in the western Andes so this habitat is absolutely vital to their survival.
So why is this appeal so urgent?
The area’s unique páramo habitat is under threat. Mining companies have the rights to mine key areas for metal deposits, which would most likely be extracted through open-pit mining – and that would be disastrous for local wildlife.
The area is threatened too by man-made fires lit by cattle ranchers. They light them to revive the grassland for pasture and encroachment from non-native pine trees from timber plantations next to them.
The land is owned by local communities who want to protect it because they rely on the clean freshwater in the mountain’s ecosystem. Locals have been working with the World Land Trust’s partner NCE and the Water National Secretariat (SENAGUA) to create one of Ecuador’s first Water Protection Areas. And that will give the ecosystem one of the highest legal categories of protection in the country AND provide water for nearly half a million Ecuadorian people.