Guatemalan officials have formally announced plans to establish a 47,000-acre wildlife reserve in Sierra Caral, a vast ecological hotspot on the Gulf of Honduras coast. The reserve will be the country's first nationally preserved area to be created in nine years, and its establishment represents a crucial step toward protecting the dozens of endangered amphibians and birds (as well as the hundreds of other species) who live in the region.
Robin Moore Deforestation has progressively devastated Sierra Caral in recent years, but as efforts to preserve its biodiversity have ramped up, so too have conservationists' hopes for endangered species' survival. Groups like the Amphibian Survival Alliance, Rainforest Trust and IUCN have worked to see Sierra Caral protected -- and now, they might finally see their efforts pay off as these 6 species benefit from their new refuge.
1) Morelet's Tree Frog
Once abundant in Central America and kept as pets around the world, these cute green frogs are now listed as "critically endangered" and have gone extinct in some of their native habitats. They're most threatened by pollution and deforestation, which will be reduced in Guatemala's new reserve.
2) Keel-Billed Motmot
Wikimedia Commons Aside from having a fun name, the keel-billed motmot is also beautiful to look at. The IUCN Red List considers these birds "vulnerable"; they are threatened mostly by preventable habitat loss.
Flickr: Eduardo Merille Jaguars are considered "near threatened" worldwide, but rapid deforestation in Sierra Caral makes the big cats of the region particularly vulnerable to population decline. By protecting biodiversity in all of Sierra Caral, jaguars can maintain stable numbers in Guatemala.
4) Golden-Cheeked Warbler
Wikimedia Commons A migratory species known as the golden finch of Texas, these songbirds are endangered worldwide but suffer disproportionately when they winter in Guatemala.
Wikimedia Commons Jaguars aren't the only threatened spotted cats in Sierra Caral: the margay, a small spotted wildcat, is a vulnerable species native to the lower mountains of Central America. The animals are considered to be seriously threatened by habitat destruction and deforestation, though the IUCN has reduced their status to "near threatened" in recent years.
Though the IUCN considers anteaters "least concern" in other parts of the world, the animals are vulnerable in Sierra Caral and are expected to see a large boost in numbers with the help of Guatemala's new preservation efforts.