Press Room

Audubon, Colombian Government Partner to Launch Central Andes Birding Trail

Ecotourism hotspot inspires bird habitat conservation through economic development

NEW YORK – As winter migration ends this season in the United States, the National Audubon Society announces the launch of the Central Andes Birding Trail in Colombia, where hundreds of North American migratory bird species like Canada Warblers, Cerulean Warblers and Semipalmated Sandpipers are settling into their wintering habitats. This trail is the second Audubon birding trail in Colombia designed to generate community-based conservation through economic development that incentivizes protection of critical habitat for native endemics and wintering migrant species by providing local economic benefits.

“The Andes Mountains provide stunning, yet critical habitats for migrant and native species that need protection as birds face enormous threats, due to habitat loss, climate change and illegal trafficking," said John Beavers, vice president of Audubon's International Alliances Program. "Nature-based economies are good for both birds and people—birds get habitat they need and ecotourism drives jobs and the local economy.”

The Central Andes Birding Trail, developed in partnership with the Colombian Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, offers ecotourists and birders the opportunity to spot more than 800 birds of the Central Andes Coffee Region seen at the more than 25 top birding destinations. Adventurers on the trail may spot a popular migrant like the American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager or Baltimore Oriole as well as a rare endemic species like the Brown-banded Antpitta or Buffy Helmetcrest.

To date, Audubon has trained 62 professional birding guides from 20 communities and engaged 35 local businesses to support the birdwatching industry along this trail and help ecotourists on their birding adventure. Additionally, Audubon created 18 community-led conservation agreements that help ensure the economic alternatives generated from the Central Andes Birding Trail also inspire stewardship of the local habitat and Important Bird Areas that birds and the growing ecotourism industry depend on.

To encourage future economic and conservation success around ecotourism in the region, Audubon created a comprehensive curriculum for locals to train others on the state of the Central Andes birds and their conservation needs.

“As more individuals and businesses join and depend on the birding economy, local communities along Audubon-developed trails and financed by the government of Colombia like the Central Andes Birding Trail will become stronger ambassadors for their local environments while increasing incomes and improving their livelihoods,” said Camilo Fernández de Soto, director of the Productive Transformation Program at the Colombian Ministry of Commerce and Tourism.

The Central Andes Birding Trail joins the Northern Colombia Birding Trail in Colombia, as well as bird-based tourism efforts in the Bahamas, Belize, Guatemala and Paraguay, in Audubon’s strategic conservation initiative to protect birds that use the flyways of the Western Hemisphere and depend on habitat across borders and continents. This trail is a step in Audubon’s goal to establish a total of 500,000 acres of new protected areas in Colombia and improve management of an additional 3.6 million acres of bird habitat across priority forest, coastal, and wetland ecosystems that support priority species.

To learn more about Audubon’s International Alliances Program, please visit here. For more information on Audubon’s work in Colombia, learn more here.

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About the National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Chandler Lennon, clennon@audubon.org, (212) 979-3063

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