Wednesday, August 19


On July 31, the camp "Third Count Bats at the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest" was held.

Approximately 40 people participated in this activity which consisted of a camp where students and the general public learned about the importance of these mammals and what is its impact on maintaining the ecological balance of the planet. The agenda included a conference to raise awareness by Blgo. Jaime Salas, field placement for networks and for the collection of bats, these fieldwork was conducted overnight because bats are nocturnal mammals.


Once bats were collected, the biologists measured and recorded the data to determine the species that live in Cerro Blanco.

In total, 10 individuals were captured and identified and later released. A total of 6 species were obtained:

1)      Artibeus fraterculus
2)      Carollia perspicillata,
3)      Sturnira lilium,
4)      Cynomops greenhalli,
5)      Eptesicus innxius, y
6)      Glossophaga soricina

We should mention that in 2013 the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest was recognized by the Latin American Net for Bat Conservation as Importance Area for Bats (Área de Importancia Para los Murciélagos – AICOM)

Thursday, August 13

Keeper of the Wild in Ecuador records Great Green Macaws

13 August, 2015 - 13:21 -- World Land Trust
Ranger Armando
Great Green Macaws.
Ranger Armando Manzaba has recorded six Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus guayaquilensis) in the north west part of Cerro Blanco Protected Forest.
The Great Green Macaw is Critically Endangered in Ecuador and is categorised as Globally Endangered by IUCN. There is an estimated population of between 60 and 80 individuals left in the wild in Ecuador.
Armando’s work is funded by World Land Trust (WLT) through theKeepers of the Wild programme. Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, where Armando works, is managed and part owned by Fundación Pro-Bosque(Pro-Bosque), one of WLT’s four partners in Ecuador.
The macaws arrived around 6.30am and stayed for approximately two hours, after which they flew off in the direction from whence they came. They visited an area of the forest where Pigio trees(Cavanillesia platanifolia) are common. While they were in view the birds stayed close to the ranger station, perched in a Pigio tree. Similar behaviour was observed when the macaws returned a week later.
The fact that there were five Great Green Macaws in a flight cage near the sighting may have attracted the wild macaws. During the time that the wild macaws were being monitored, they were constantly calling, and their calls were answered by the birds in the flight cage. This bodes well for when the captive bred macaws are released.

Flagship species

The Great Green Macaw is Cerro Blanco’s flagship species. As part of his job, Armando guards the nests of the small population of Great Green Macaws in the reserve and assists with the care and feeding of captive bred Great Green Macaws prior to them being released into the wild.
“Thanks to World Land Trust’s Keepers of the Wild programme, the important work of Ranger Armando Manzaba is supported, including the care and upkeep of a group of Great Green Macaws in the process of being habituated before being released back into the wild,” said Eric Horstman, Chief Executive of Pro-Bosque.
Macaws are usually present in Cerro Blanco during the months of June to October, when they search for nesting areas in areas of the forest dominated by Pigio trees. Later, when the eggs hatch and the young fledge the Great Green Macaws leave these areas and range widely through the remnant forest patches of the Cordillera Chongon Colonche which form part of a biological corridor linking them with the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest.
Armando photographed the Macaws on 8 July 2015.
Keepers of the Wild badge

More information

WLT has recently launched Keepers of the Wild 2020, an appeal to raise £750,000 to guarantee WLT’s ranger support programme until 2020. You can help fund Ranger Armando’s work in Ecuador by donating to Keepers of the Wild 2020.
You can see the original article in: 

Friday, August 7

Virtual Tour 360 by the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest

Thanks to the generous support of our friend Jonathan Herrera and LETOUR360 company has created a virtual tour of the  Cerro Blanco Protected Forest and be able to tour virtual:  the visitor center, camping area, Buena Vista and Higueron trail.

Here we share the link of this wonderful tour, we hope you enjoy it and come to personally know the Cerro Blanco Forest:

Monday, August 3

Keepers of the Wild 2020 launched in Celebration of World Ranger Day - 31st July 2015

In support of World Ranger Day today, international conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT) is launching an appeal for £750,000 to fund WLT’s wildlife ranger programme, Keepers of the Wild, until 2020.

World Ranger Day was launched in 2007 on the 15th Anniversary of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) in order to commemorate rangers killed or injured in the line of duty. World Ranger Day is a celebration of the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural treasures and is observed annually on 31 July and promoted by all 63 member associations of IRF.
The rangers funded by WLT are usually members of the local communities and have an array of different roles, acting as guardians of the reserves that have been created, and the wildlife they contain. Their duties cover a range of tasks from regularly patrolling the reserves to policing illegal activities such as logging and hunting. They also monitor and record species, assist visiting research teams, maintain paths through the forest as well as guiding visitors, helping with education programmes and working with local communities.

World Land Trust’s Keepers of the Wild programme was launched in 2011, addressing the urgent need to provide more resources and rangers to help support WLT’s partner organisations across the world. The programme has been very successful because it enables WLT’s network of international conservation partners to employ rangers to protect the reserves for which they have responsibility. In 2011 the programme supported 11 project partners to employ 14 rangers. Since then the number of rangers supported has increased steadily and in 2015 WLT is funding 19 partners to employ 32 Keepers in 15 countries.
Due to its supporters’ generous donations, WLT has managed to so far fund rangers in Borneo, Bolivia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Armenia, Guatemala, Brazil, Mexico and Ecuador. However, until now, WLT has needed to seek funds to sustain the programme on a year-by-year basis and the purpose of the Keepers of the Wild 2020 Appeal is to create a fund in order to support the programme for a five year period.
Eric Horstman, Executive Director of Fundación Pro-Bosque in Ecuador said, “Thanks to the support of World Land Trust and Keepers of the Wild, the important work of ranger Armando Manzaba is possible. His work includes the care of a group of Great Green Macaws in the process of being habituated before being released back into the wild.  Armando has also documented with his cell phone a new species of frog for the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest as well as the presence of a flock of six wild macaws.”

The public can support World Land Trust and their project partners to protect critically threatened habitats by funding rangers. World Land Trust is aiming to raise £750,000 by donating to the Keepers of the Wild programme:
You can see the original article:

Tuesday, July 21

Registration Great Green Macaw watching in the Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco, Guayaquil - Ecuador

On July 8, 2015, the rangers  Armando Manzaba (Keeper of the wild) and Benito Choez reported the presence of six Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus guayaquilensis) near the Jaguar station guard, located in the Northwest part of the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest.

The Great Green Macaw arrived around 6:30 am and stayed for a period of approximately two hours, after which they flew in the same direction from which they came (northwest), this area is characterized by a forest of Pigio trees (Cavanillesia platanifolia). During the time the birds remained close to the guard station, they were perched on a Pigio tree.

Subsequently, on July 16, 2015, six macaws were seen in the same area. Like the previous occasion, the birds arrived at about 6:30 remaining in place for two hours, then they flew in a northwesterly direction.

The arrival of the birds, is perhaps due to the presence of 5 Great Green Macaw in a flight rage as part of a program to release captive macaws bred to help bolster the local population.  The Great Green Macaw is listed as critically endangered in Ecuador with an estimated population of between 60 and 80 individuals remaining in the wild. 

During the time that the macaws were in the field, they were constantly vocalizing which were answered by the birds in the flight cage.

It is important to note that during the months of June to October macaws area present in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest in search of nesting areas in forest dominated by Pigios.  Later, when the eggs hatch and the young fled the Great Greens leave these areas.

Wednesday, July 8


A quest spanning 15 years has unearthed one of the rarest parrots in South America.
Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo’s director general and one of the world’s leading experts on Amazon parrots, made the 11th hour discovery which could now save a species - known as the Ecuador Amazon parrot - from extinction.

Dr Pilgrim said:
“The rate at which animals are becoming extinct is higher today than at any other time in history. In the face of this crisis, and a lack of adequate resources with which to properly address it, it’s not really surprising that subspecies are seen as being of lesser conservation importance to full species.
“This places great significance on taxonomic evaluation studies of threatened animals, as misclassifying a species as a subspecies will mean it’s likely to be overlooked as a conservation priority.
“Whilst working as a bird keeper at Chester Zoo in the late 1980s, I was fascinated by a little green parrot called the Ecuador Amazon (Latin name Amazona autumnalis lilacina). At that time we only had a pair of these parrots which came to the zoo after being confiscated by customs officials in the UK. They were part of a haul of 150 birds that had been illegally trapped and exported to Europe where they were destined to be sold illegally into the pet trade.
“I soon started to believe them to be different to three other much more common Amazona autumnalissubspecies that, historically, the Ecuador Amazon was grouped with. I thought that this parrot might actually be something very special and perhaps a species in its own right. Little did I know then that those birds would go on to play such an important part in my life.”
Dr Pilgrim therefore set out to determine whether or not A. a lilacina is sufficiently different from the other three A. autumnalis subspecies to be considered as a separate species.
Between 1992 and 2013, he visited museums, bird parks and zoos across Europe to try and discover more.
“The first step was to look for any morphological differences – basically body shapes and colour patterns,” said Dr Pilgrim. “So I travelled to museums in different parts of Europe to analyse more than 60 specimens, taking measurements such as wing-length, tail-length and beak shape. Not only were the specimens few and far between, some were in very poor condition which only added to the challenge. I also looked at 17 live parrots, kept at Chester Zoo, and took opportunities to analyse them only when they were anaesthetised for any pressing veterinary reasons.
“Next I looked at their genetics. Using labs at Liverpool John Moores University, I extracted DNA from feathers and looked at small differences in specific genes that were selected for sequencing. Freshly moulted, primary, secondary and tail feathers of captive Amazona parrots were used as the DNA source, as opposed to taking blood or tissue samples, to avoid causing them any stress. These feathers came from birds kept by zoos and private aviculturists from all over Europe and were collected by a strict protocol to ensure their reliability.
“Finally, I devised an ethogram – a way of cataloguing the birds’ behavioural repertoire, looking at possible differences in their courtship behaviour.”

Chester Zoo’s director general, Dr Mark Pilgrim, sorts through more than 100 feathers which have been sent to him by parrot keepers from all around Europe. DNA tests on the feathers have led to the Ecuador Amazon parrot being recognised as a full specie, which could now save the parrot from extinction

These investigations have uncovered strong evidence that the Ecuador Amazon parrot (A. a lilicina) is indeed morphologically, behaviourally and genetically distinctive, providing justification for it to be recognised as a full species.
But the findings, and the parrots’ impending re-classification, have far-reaching consequences. With full species recognition, the Ecuador Amazon parrot is now likely to be considered as ‘endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Birdlife International, meaning it faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future. It has a greater than 50% chance of disappearing altogether in the next 20 years.
“The Ecuador Amazon parrot was previously included within a group of subspecies of which there may be as many as five million. The main implication of this work is that they are so distinct they are now considered as a full species, of which there are only 600 left. This makes a huge difference to their conservation priority.
“So having shown that it’s a species in its own right, we now need to make sure we don’t lose it.
“With 80 Ecuador Amazon parrots in European zoos as part of a conservation breeding programme, now almost a fifth of the world’s population, we realise how precious they are.
“My fear was always that the results of my work would come too late, however there is still time to save it and that’s exactly what we are trying to achieve.”


To add to the work Chester Zoo is now sending an expedition to carry out more vital research on the parrots in the wild.
A team of 11, including experienced conservationists and bird experts, will study the birds during their nesting season in the Cerro Blanco Forest in South West Ecuador. The team is tasked with monitoring the parrots, collecting important data and setting camera traps to try and learn more about them.
Dr Pilgrim said:
“Despite my 15 years of research there are still so many questions that need to be answered. We need to know what trees the parrots feed on, what else may compete for that food in the forest, where they nest and what their behaviour is whilst they nest. This basic biological information is vital to produce a conservation action plan.
"Additionally we need to do an accurate head count – we want to find out as precisely as we can just how many of these wonderful birds are left so that we can judge if and how fast the population declining. This will help us to understand what we need to do to raise the level of protection of the Cerro Blanco Forest and for the parrots.
“Having this basic information will help us to discover the best ways to protect and preserve their habitat.
“Ultimately, this expedition and the work and research the team will do in Ecuador is essential for the survival of this species in the wild.”
Follow the team’s progress through blogs, updates and photos via the zoo’s conservation website

Fast Facts

• Chester Zoo currently has 12 Ecuador Amazon parrots, housed in its rare parrot breeding centre
• Dr Pilgrim has co-ordinated the European breeding programme, spanning 18 zoos and bird centres, since 1992
• With full species recognition, the Ecuador Amazon parrot is now being classified as endangered by the IUCN and Birdlife International, meaning it faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future. It has a greater than 50% chance of extinction in the next 20 years
• Ecuador amazon parrots depend on forest and mangroves in western Ecuador – the most severely threatened habitat in the world
• 90-98% of the forest has been cleared for agriculture and 80% of the mangroves have been destroyed for shrimp farming. The clearance of these areas and the accompanying road building has literally paved the way for other activities such as hunting, trapping and taking youngsters from nests
• Chester Zoo already has links to the Cerro Blanco forest having earlier this year pledged support to the Pro Bosque Foundation, a local conservation organisation working in the area. Part of the zoo’s plan includes helping to rehabilitate parrots that have been confiscated by the national police and ministry of the environment and release them back into selected areas of the forest
• The Pro Bosque Foundation was set up by Eric Horstman in 1993 and works intensively to protect and restore over 6,000 hectares of dry forest that is home not only to the Ecuador Amazon parrot, but a vast array of other species including the jaguar
• Ecuador is extremely biodiverse and classed as one of the earth’s 17 "mega-diverse" countries
• Ecuador is home to over 1,600 species of birds - 17% of the world's total number of birds
• Chester Zoo’s expedition team leave the UK in late January 2014