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Camera trap videos help protect biodiversity of Bigal River Biological Reserve in Ecuador

09 / 08 / 2018, Mongabaycom News

Bigal River Biological Reserve was created in 2008 in the foothill forests of northeastern Ecuador, on the Amazonian side of the Andean slopes. The private protected area is located in the southern buffer zone of Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park, a less-explored national park that the biological reserve helps to protect, according to Thierry Garcia of the Sumac Muyu Foundation, which founded and manages Bigal River Biological Reserve. The reserve lies at elevations from 500 to 1,000 meters, between the lowland Amazonian forests and the cloud forests higher up in the Andes. Garcia says that it harbors “very interesting patterns from both ecosystems, at flora and fauna levels.” As part of its Bigal River Conservation Project, the Sumac Muyu Foundation has maintained camera traps in the reserve since 2014 and has collected hundreds of hours of footage showing big mammals like jaguars and tapirs as well as rare birds and other species going about their business in the foothill forests. The incredible biodiversity of the region is facing severe threats from human activities, however. The area that lies between Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park and two other important protected areas in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Yasuní National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, have been subject to increasing deforestation in recent years due to the encroachment of oil palm and agricultural operations. “During the past 17 years, there has been considerable deforestation in this area, with numerous intensifying or new hotspots,” the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) reports. “The Bigal River Conservation…

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