Thanks to your support, Ecuador expands its newest national park!
Strategic Area: Wild Places
Content Type: News
We have exciting news, thanks to donors like you.
Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment and Water just announced the expansion of Río Negro Sopladora National Park, bringing it to a total size of 83,296 acres. The expansion guarantees the conservation of additional biodiverse habitat and natural resources in central Ecuador.
Because of generous people like you, Nature and Culture International played a critical role in establishing Río Negro Sopladora in February 2018 when it became Ecuador’s first new national park in nearly a decade. The park expansion, also supported by Nature and Culture, connects it with a municipal protected area to the southwest and protects water sources for local populations.
Río Negro Sopladora, located on the eastern slope of the Andes, falls within the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot, one of the most biologically rich areas on the planet. Nature and Culture’s Rapid Biological Assessment in 2017 registered 546 species of birds, plants, and other taxonomic groups, including three species of amphibians new to science – a frog, a salamander, and a caecilian (a blind, limbless, serpentine amphibian).
Ranging in altitude from 800 to 3,900 meters above sea level and connecting to Sangay National Park to the north, this natural area serves as a kind of “escape valve” for climate change. As the Earth warms, species will have an upward migration path to cooler temperatures to survive. This is particularly important for far-ranging animals like the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), and Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), all of which are vulnerable to or threatened with extinction.
Río Negro Sopladora also secures critical ecosystem services such as water and climate regulation, public recreation, provision of water for hydroelectric plants, and carbon storage.
According to Fabián Rodas, Nature and Culture conservationist, “the expansion is a wise decision made by environmental authorities, for the benefit of nature and local populations. Río Negro Sopladora maintains connectivity with other protected areas and strengthens the management of this core area within the Sangay Podocarpus Connectivity Corridor.”
The expansion area was originally excluded from the park because of a mining concession, which was recently revoked, clearing the way for the park to expand by 10%. As a national park, the entire area is now protected from any extractive activities.
Río Negro-Sopladora was a result of extensive collaboration over several years between Nature and Culture, Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, and local communities and authorities. The park was expanded thanks to financial support from Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and generous supporters like you.
Thank you for making this achievement possible! We hope that this bit of good news inspires you to continue fighting for nature and culture.
Río Negro Sopladora is a core area protected within Ecuador’s first connectivity corridor, declared just last week! Learn more here.