The most recent top stories from our Spanish-language service, Mongabay Latam, followed Romeo, the incredibly rare Bolivian frog who’s finally found a mate; puma protection in Patagonia National Park; and the “Andean ostrich” that now features on a Peruvian coin.
Love over extinction: Bolivia’s ‘Romeo’ frog finds his Juliet
After a decade of solitude, Romeo, the last male Sehuencas water frog (Telmatobius yuracare) in captivity, finally found his Juliet. After a global campaign raised $25,000 for an expedition into the frog’s cloud forest habitat in Bolivia, five other frogs were found, two of them female. While the fundraising campaign promoted the image of a love story, it is more a last-ditch effort against imminent extinction.
Newest Peruvian coin features ‘Andean ostrich’
The seventh edition of Peru’s Endangered Wildlife coin features a lesser rhea (Rhea pennata), also known as Darwin’s rhea, a bird endemic to South America that is listed for protection under CITES Appendices I and II (though the IUCN Red List classifies it as being of “least concern” in terms of vulnerability). The coin, in circulation since Dec. 17, carries the image of the bird, also known as the Andean ostrich, which is the largest in South America, reaching up 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in height. Illicit hunting, habitat loss and theft of its eggs are the principal threats to the lesser rhea’s survival.
Lying with lambs: Chilean reserve finds a way for pumas and sheep to co-exist
“We showed that you can live with predators and not kill them,” said Cristián Saucedo, wildlife program administrator of Patagonia National Park in an interview with Mongabay Latam. Saucedo described a pilot program that permits sheep grazing in the park but prohibits hunting pumas that once preyed on them. At one time more than 30,000 sheep grazed in the area; now a hundred farmers use the Great Pyrenees breed of dogs to guard them. As a result, the entire ecosystem and its resident wildlife, including pumas (Puma concolor), the Patagonian huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus) and the lesser rhea (Rhea pennata pennata), are recovering.
New birds in town: Climate change alters Bogotá’s winged populations
Climate change and habitat loss are bringing lowland bird species to the Colombian capital and displacing native ones to higher ground. Among the new arrivals are the lowland bare-faced ibis (Phimosus infuscatus), the roadside hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), and the Carib grackle (Quiscalus lugubris). Birds that once inhabited the central plains but are moving to higher altitudes include the coppery-bellied puffleg (Eriocnemis cupreoventris) and the glossy flowerpiercer (Diglossa lafresnayii). The wider ecosystem implications, such as the effect on pollination and insects, have yet to be studied.
Ecuador: Despite legal victory, indigenous Cofán say illegal miners are still in their territory
Mining companies ordered to leave the territory of the Cofán people of northern Ecuador are still there, say the two parties who won a landmark lawsuit against them. “The authorities that should be closely following the court order and making sure it is followed, such as the Mining Regulation and Control Agency and the Ministry of the Environment, are not doing it,” charged one of the original plaintiffs. For more than a year, the Cofán of Sinangoe in Sucumbíos province fought the mining activities that threatened the conservation of their forests and their water sources, especially the Aguarico, Cofanes and Chingual rivers.
Peru: Indigenous leader who clinched deal for Yaguas National Park honored
The indigenous leader who led the fight for the establishment of Peru’s newest protected area, Yaguas National Park, was recognized with the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. As president of the Federation of Native Communities of Ampiyacu, a coalition of 14 communities, Liz Chicaje Churay and members of the Bora people of northern Peru led the final fight in the decades-long battle for the protection of this mega-diverse ecosystem.
Read these stories in their entirety in Spanish here at Mongabay Latam.
Banner image of a lesser rhea (Rhea pennata) from Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor) by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.