In 1998 we created a non-governmental organization (NGO), Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco, to protect areas of critical importance for the conservation of endemic and threatened bird species in Ecuador that are not under the protection of the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP). We achieve this goal by acquiring and managing land as biological reserves.
We were founded in September 1998 to protect the habitat of the local species Jocotoco Antpitta - the name "Jocotoco" is an onomatopoeia used by local farmers who recognized this species for its song.
So far, we have established a network of fifteen reserves, which together protect around 23.000 hectares. Although these reserves were created to protect the habitats of threatened birds, they also protect flora and fauna associated with these habitats.
Our reserves are home to more than 900 species of birds, of which over 50 are threatened or near-threatened with extinction on a global scale, and more than 100 species are regional endemics or species of restricted geographical distribution.
In addition, the reserves maintain populations of at least 200 species of amphibians and reptiles, many of which are threatened and range-restricted, and several newly discovered. They also protect large and rare mammals such as the Spectacled Bear, Mountain Tapir, Chocó Tapir, Puma and Jaguar.
All reserves have been recognized as Important Areas for Bird Conservation, and they are within hotspots of Biodiversity. Two of them are recognized as sites of the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE). Furthermore, we have established important relationships with the local communities surrounding the areas we protect.
Ornithologist Dr. Robert Ridgely, on one of his trips to Ecuador, discovered a species of bird which until then had not been studied by science. Based on this encounter, this species was described as: Grallaria ridgleyi, the Jocotoco Antpitta; which is currently classified as endangered.
Thanks to this finding, Fundación Jocotoco was founded on the initiative of conserving the habitat of this species, which is possibly the most significant bird discovered in the last 30 years.
As part of an ongoing growth, we have established a network of reserves in Ecuador that provides natural refuges for other globally threatened birds. Our foundation is home to 36 of the 51 globally threatened species in Ecuador, and 24 species of almost threatened birds according to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
The Board Members of Fundación Jocotoco is comprised of the following individuals: