Expanding the Narupa Reserve in Ecuador

Expanding the Narupa Reserve in Ecuador

Mutable rainfrog (Pristimantis mutabilis). Photo credit: Javier Aznar

Fundación Jocotoco was established in 1998. We are an Ecuadorian NGO whose mission is to protect threatened species and habitats in the country. Jocotoco was born out of the realization of how scarce, localized, and consequently threatened many bird species in Ecuador were in the 1990s. Now, we are the premier conservation organization in Ecuador with a broader focus on threatened species and ecosystems. Since 1998, Jocotoco has established 15 reserves, protecting approximately 31,000 hectares, becoming stewards of some of the most threatened habitats throughout Ecuador.

Jocotoco's Narupa Reserve harbors exceptional biodiversity as it is strategically situated within the upper Napo valley on the western flanks of the Amazonas. This region is one of the most biodiverse regions not just in Ecuador, but worldwide. Narupa Reserve protects globally threatened bird species, such as Black Tinamou, Military Macaw, Black-and Chestnut Eagle, and Harpy Eagle. The reserve is also home to several threatened amphibians and three endangered species of this group. The most threatened mammal is the Spectacled Bear, which has recently recolonized Narupa. Wooly Monkeys are likely to also occur in the expanded reserve.

Park guard on patrol in the Narupa Reserve. Photo credit: Javier Aznar

The Reserve serves as a buffer for the Sumaco Napo-Galeras and Antisana National Parks. Jocotoco's long-term strategy is to increase the reserve's level of protection and build connectivity between these two parks by expanding Narupa. This approach is designed to protect against encroachment and deforestation and ensure that gene flow and species dispersal can continue across three protected areas. Building connectivity is critical for enabling animals which inhabit large areas, such as the Spectacled Bear, to cross from one protected area to the next. It also facilitates the management of Narupa Reserve, as only its southern and eastern boundaries will be vulnerable to incursions.

The reserve currently protects 2,518 hectares of Ecuadorian Amazon and harbors exceptional biodiversity. With the support of Quick Response for Nature, our partners, and dedicated staff we were able to expand Narupa by 41 hectares which consolidates the southwestern part of the reserve. Jocotoco’s next step is to continue expanding Narupa, search for new funding opportunities, and protect the megadiverse Ecuadorian Amazon.

Written by Camila Piñeiros (Jocotoco), edited by Sanjiv Fernando (QRFN).