Thursday, September 10, 2009

Setting up a Natural Reserve and Wildlife Refuge

Magical inundation forest at natural reserve site
I have spent the last few days preparing a detailed submission to potential funding sources for the establishment of a 10 square kilometer natural reserve along the banks of the Rio el Bita in Vichada, Colombia. The area we have selected has two old growth inundation forests, 5 km of river bank, 2 quebradas entering the river (flood channels) and a unique river inlet for which we have big plans. Registering the natural reserve under Colombian law and putting in the infrastructure will take a year. The second year will see us open to the public, hopefully with University of Alberta researchers using it as a base for two studies they would like to do, and with local Colombian botanists and zoologist helping us to create an eco-tourism marvel.

This water turtle was rescued from some dogsI mentioned the unique river inlet. The plan there is to construct an aquatic turtle hatchery. We would collect turtle eggs from up and down the Rio el Bita before poachers can get to them, hatch them at our facility, and then release them into the river inlet. This process should insure a higher than normal survival rate for these endangered creatures. There are 3 varieties of aquatic turtle in Vichada, all of which can get very large when they are not being hunted. I can hardly wait to get started. There are of course quite a few other aquatic species that will have some protection thanks to the natural reserve, including pink dolphins, giant otters, yellow-bellied caimans, giant anacondas, manatees, sting rays and more.

Anaconda skeleton - who dunnit?
The project includes the planting of 2 square kilometers of native tree species for expanded wildlife habitat, the construction of an interpretive center for eco-tourists, and viewing platforms for researchers, artists and tourists wishing to experience the magic of the inundation forest. I am hoping that we will be able to have a budget for volunteers to stay at the reserve and assist with studies and other activities designed to educate the locals about the benefits of preserving the environment. I am planning on including a page regarding this project in our CO2 Tropical Trees web site, which will be re-launched with a major overhaul soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment