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Palkachupa Cotinga
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Project Coordinator: William Ferrufino;

Project area: Apolo savannahs and semi-humid forests, Department of La Paz.

The Palkachupa Cotinga is endemic to the Apolo region of the department of La Paz. The species was unknown for ninety-eight years until its rediscovery by Armonía in 2000. It is considered Critically Endangered owing to its small population and very small range (c. 770 miles2) in which destruction of its already severely fragmented and highly degraded habitat is ongoing. Accordingly, the population, estimated to number fewer than 600 individuals, is increasingly fragmented and suspected to be declining rapidly. Armonía's conservation actions are focused on the area of Aten, in the southern sector of the Palkachupa range, where the greatest numbers of breeding sites and individuals have been recorded, and habitat destruction is escalating at an alarming rate through conversion of forest to cattle pasture and annual burning of savannas.

As the impact of habitat loss on the viability of the remaining Palkachupa population is increasingly critical, the creation of a reserve is crucial for the long-term conservation of the Palkachupa stronghold in Aten. In 2009, World Land Trust-US supported a land evaluation study and, in June 2010, with the support of forPlanet, Armonía purchased 130 acres as the first step toward the creation of a Palkachupa Nature Reserve. We will fence the area to keep cattle out and start a reforestation project. Negotiations with Aten land owners continue and we hope to extend the reserve in order to secure the protection of as much habitat in the region as possible. A widespread public awareness campaign is needed to raise greater awareness of the Palkachupa Cotinga and catalyze action in support the conservation of its habitat.

Our efforts are led by William Ferrufino, a native of Aten who previously worked as a park guard in Madidi National Park. William's leadership of the project has been fundamental to gaining local support for the reserve. In recognition of this and to build greater local participation in habitat conservation, with the support of forPlanet we provided assistance for renovation of the Aten school. With the continued support of Gwen Brewer and the Nuttall Ornithological Club's Charles Blake Fund, William and several Aten high school students are monitoring nests at four key breeding sites. In December William will census at least 12 sites in the surrounding area.

Presently we are seeking USD 3,500 for the public awareness campaign (posters, brochures, radio spots, road signs, education materials etc.), and USD 5,000 to conduct a Palkachupa population census throughout its range in order to better assess its conservation status. USD 4,000 is needed for the purchase of a motorcycle so that William can work with more communities and also monitor a greater number of sites in the Aten region (there is no public transportation to remote communities/sites and the high cost of hiring a moto-taxi limits the scope of the project).

To visit the Armonia website and for more information click here

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