Conservationists are celebrating the government in Guatemala’s formal establishment of a new 47,000 acre (19,013 hectare) protected area that will safeguard some of the country’s most endangered wildlife.
The Kentucky warbler
The reserve is home to three species of threatened birds, a host of migratory birds that breed in the United States, a dozen globally threatened frogs and salamanders, five of which are found nowhere else in the world, and the rare Merendon palm pit viper (Bothriechis thalassinus), an arboreal, blue-toned venomous snake.
The National Congress of Guatemala established the National Protected Area by an overwhelming pro-conservation vote of 106 in favour out of a total of 125 congressmen present in the session.
It is the first new protected area designated by the Guatemalan Congress in nine years.
The Core Zone of the area, the 6,000 acre Sierra Caral Amphibian Conservation Reserve, was established in 2012 by Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO) with assistance from, among others, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the World Land Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation and Southern Wings.