World Land Trust (WLT) has to save habitat in southern Ecuador frequented by the , which is under imminent threat from mining.
The metal-rich landscapes of Ecuador have seen an increase in industrial mining over the past 30 years and mining corporations have recently gained the rights to mine the hillstar's habitat in order to extract metals. Swathes of Ecuador's tropical forests have also been cleared so that metals such as copper, gold and lead can extracted from large open pits, which have proven a disaster for local wildlife.
WLT has launched the , which aims to raise £30,000 to enable its partner Naturaleza y Cultura Ecuador (NCE) to extend a Water Protection Area to include the hillstar's 70,000-acre range. By incorporating the hillstar's habitat in this area, it will have government-level protection and will eliminate the threat of mining, saving the rare hummingbird's habitat.
"This is a unique opportunity to save a Critically Endangered species from extinction," said Richard Cuthbert, Director of Conservation at WLT. "If we do not act now, mining corporations can move in on the habitat and create a mine which would most likely wipe out the hillstar population.
"This situation is the perfect example of why habitat conservation is so important. Habitat loss is one of the greatest causes of species extinction worldwide, and for every habitat we lose, we eliminate a stronghold for numerous plant and animal species. For species such as Blue-throated Hillstar, with such a small range, this can mean extinction. The fact that we are continuing to discover new species in habitats facing threats like mining shows that we may not even be aware of the ecological damage these activities are causing."