Today we introduce the organization that we at ThankU have chosen as our partner to protect wildlife: Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco, a non-governmental organization active in Ecuador. Jocotoco buys rainforest land and transforms it into reserves to protect wild animals and plants. It was initially founded to protect the endangered bird Jocotoco Antpitta. The founder, the renowned ornithologist Dr. Robert Ridgeley, discovered this bird species during one of his journeys through Ecuador and made the most significant bird discovery of the last thirty years.This unique discovery sets the bar high, but the numbers keep up. Since its founding in 1998, the organization has established fifteen reserves with a total area of 23,000 hectares of rainforest. The protection is not limited to birds but includes the entire flora and fauna. There are more than nine hundred species of birds, over fifty of which are endangered worldwide. The reserves also protect at least two hundred species of wildlife, including large and rare mammals such as the spectacled bear, mountain tapir, chocó-tapir, puma, and jaguar.
Image source: Wikimedia Foundation
The mysterious and endangered horned marsupial frog, which has not been seen for 13 years, reappears in the Jocotoco Reserve Canandé, to the delight of biologists.
A decisive factor in our choice of Jocotoco as a partner for ThankU was the social commitment of the Fundación. It maintains essential relationships with the local communities and APECAP, the Association of Organic Coffee Growers of Palanda, which includes 190 families.
A bird protection program and reforestation courses enable the local farmers to create a suitable environment for birds in the coffee plantations. The reforestation improves the fertility of the soil and thus increases the quality of the coffee. This helps the coffee farmers’ association to comply with the organic certification regulations. At the same time, a new environmental awareness is created and passed on to the next generations.
“There are enormous challenges ahead of us,” writes Jocotoco CEO Martin Schaefer about the current pandemic situation. “While the economic downturn has caused less pollution in industrialized societies, the combination of a complete standstill in tourism and low oil prices means that logging and hunting will increase in rural Ecuador. Our Jocotoco family is preparing to prevent nature from being hit even harder”.
We select the projects you can support by sending a ThankU to your loved ones with great care. The Fundación Jocotoco convinced us with their transparency, their impact on the entire ecosystem, and their social sustainability all around.