COLOMBIA: Highlights | Slideshow | Wildlife | Amazon | Cartagena

Photographic Highlights from Colombia


PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS FROM A SEP-OCT 2011 VISIT


Colombia's llanos: ranches, farms, and forest



Postman butterfly, Heliconius sp (blue form)



Black skimmer in flight



Butterfly



Gorgona island



Horned screamer



Hoatzins



Caiman



Sugar cane in Colombia



Blue-gray tanager



Blue-and-yellow macaw



Headshot of a green iguana (Iguana iguana)



Parrot



Sugar cane in Colombia



Baby caiman



Black skimmers



Parrot



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Cabybara



Cabybara



Gorgona shoreline



Cabybara



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Cabybara



Lizard



Hoatzins



Scarlet ibis



Green-tailed Jacamar (Galbula galbula)



Scarlet ibis



Caiman



Cabybara



Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus)



Cabybara



Cabybara



Brown Vine Snake



Caiman



Cattle



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Cattle in Colombia's llanos



Flock of egrets



Green-tailed Jacamar (Galbula galbula)



Hoatzin



Beach on Isla Gorgona



Ginger comb



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Cabybara



Blue-and-yellow macaw



Tortoise



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Cowboy fishing with a throw net



Green iguana on a river bank



Blue-and-yellow macaw



Snake



Bay on Gorgona



Wetlands in the llanos



Ginger combs



American Black Vulture



Playa Palmera on Gorgona Island



Big tree



Red crabs on Playa Palmera



Cabybara



Chestnut-eared Aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis)



Bird



Horned screamer



Frog



Butterfly



Isla Gorgona



Corn in Colombia



Hamadryas butterfly



Scarlet ibis



Cattle



Blue-and-yellow macaw



Oriole



Capybaras in a river



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Sharp-tailed Ibis (Cercibis oxycerca)



Red-headed jesus christ lizard



Orinoco Geese (Neochen jubata)



Iguana, up close and personal



Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)



Corn in Colombia



Orinoco Geese



Woman cutting the head off a catfish



Hoatzins



White-headed capuchin monkey



Frog



Butterfly



Red-pink dragonfly



Industrial rubber plantation in Colombia



Cattle on a Colombian ranch



Dead armored catfish used as bait in Colombia



Sugar cane in Colombia



White-headed capuchin sticking out its tongue



Red crabs on Playa Palmera



Turquoise sea and rain forest of Isla Gorgona



Forest fragment amid cattle pasture in Colombia



Greater Ani (Crotophaga major)



Cattle



Deer



Ginger flower comb



Red howler monkey



Hoatzin



Playa Palmera on Gorgona Island



White-headed capuchin monkeys grooming



Fish



Windmill in a corn field in eastern Colombia



Hoatzins



Sugar cane in Colombia



Deer



White-headed capuchin monkey eating fruit



Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima)



Industrial rubber plantation



Caiman



Cattle



Sugar cane in Colombia



Adult wattled jacana



Red howler monkey



Cattle



Hoatzins



Yellow-rumped cacique




2011 highlights page 1 | 2011 highlights page 2 | 2011 highlights page 3 | 2010 highlights | 2006-2007 trip highlights

Colombia Rainforest report
Colombia deforestation rates



News on Colombia

Conservationist, indigenous leader killed in plane crash in Colombia

(09/07/2014) A conservationist who worked to protect voluntarily isolated tribes in the Amazon rainforest and an indigenous leader were among ten killed in a plane crash in southern Colombia Saturday afternoon. Roberto Franco, a political scientist, and Daniel Matapi, a Yukuna-Matapis indigenous leader, died when the Piper PA-31 Navajo crashed after takeoff from Araracuara in the department of Caqueta.


How do we save the world's vanishing old-growth forests?

(08/26/2014) There's nothing in the world like a primary forest, which has never been industrially logged or cleared by humans. They are often described as cathedral-like, due to pillar-like trees and carpet-like undergrowth. Yet, the world's primary forests—also known as old-growth forests—are falling every year, and policy-makers are not doing enough to stop it.


Rare bird paradise protected in war-torn Colombian mountain range (photos)

(07/22/2014) A coalition of conservation groups have established a new protected area in one of Latin America's most neglected ecosystems: the Colombian-side of the Serranía de Perijá mountain range. Following decades of bloody conflict and rampant deforestation, experts say only five percent of rainforest is left on the Colombian side of this embattled mountain range.


Is REDD+ bad for wildlife? New study says lowland forest protection bias unfair, urges change

(06/27/2014) A study published this week found tree cover does not necessarily correlate with habitat importance. It suggests that using such a metric may be leading to false assumptions of habitat importance, and that REDD+ and other carbon-centric conservation programs may actually be propelling some species towards extinction.


Olinguito, tinkerbell, and a dragon: meet the top 10 new species of 2013

(05/22/2014) Out of around 18,000 new species described and named last year, scientists have highlighted ten in an effort to raise awareness about the imperiled biodiversity around us. Each species—from a teddy-bear-like carnivore in the Andes to a microbe that survives clean rooms where spaceships are built—stands out from the crowd for one reason or another.


Letting forests regrow on cattle pasture yields cheap conservation benefits

(04/28/2014) Letting forests regrow naturally on grazing lands in the tropics offers substantial climate and biodiversity at a low cost, reports a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.


Bizarre, endangered bird discovered in high densities

(03/24/2014) The turkey-sized, noisy, fruit-feasting guans are arguably one of the strangest wildlife sightings in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Ancient animals, these birds are members of the Cracidae family—which also include equally-odd currasows and chachalacas—and are actually distantly related to megapode, or mound-building, birds of Australiasia. A new study in mongabay.com's open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science looks at a particularly endangered guan: the Cauca gaun (Penelope perspicax).


From theory to deadly reality: malaria moving upslope due to global warming

(03/06/2014) Malaria is a global scourge: despite centuries of efforts to combat the mosquito-borne disease, it still kills between 660,000 to 1.2 million people a year, according to World Health Organization data from 2010. Astoundingly, experts estimate that around 300 million people are infected with the disease every year or about 4 percent of the world's total population. And these stats may only get worse. For years scientists have vigorously debated whether or not malaria will expand as global warming worsens, but a new study in Science lays down the first hard evidence.


Next big idea in forest conservation? Connecting forest fragments

(01/31/2014) Dr. Stuart Pimm is an expert in extinctions: why they happen, how fast they happen, and how they can be prevented. Reconnecting forest fragments and avoiding fragmentation, according to Pimm, are among the most crucial things we can do to conserve global biodiversity. His organization SavingSpecies identifies areas at-risk for extinctions and helps local organizations fundraise so they can protect and restore habitats and safeguard biodiversity.


Colombia to protect remote region bordering Venezeula

(01/13/2014) The Colombian government plans to declare a remote area bordering Venezuela a new protected area. Colombian Minister of Environment, Luz Helena Sarmiento, told the El Espectador that President Juan Manuel Santos will declare the Estrella Fluvial de Inirida river area a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. The designation would give Colombia six Ramsar sites.


Rainforest news review for 2013

(12/26/2013) 2013 was full of major developments in efforts to understand and protect the world's tropical rainforests. The following is a review of some of the major tropical forest-related news stories for the year. As a review, this post will not cover everything that transpired during 2013 in the world of tropical forests. Please feel free to highlight anything this post missed via the comments section at the bottom. Also please note that this review focuses only on tropical forests.


Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century - a new tapir

(12/16/2013) In what will likely be considered one of the biggest (literally) zoological discoveries of the Twenty-First Century, scientists today announced they have discovered a new species of tapir in Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it's still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for 'tapir' in the local Paumari language: Arabo kabomani.


Scientists identify 137 protected areas most important for preserving biodiversity

(11/14/2013) Want to save the world's biodiversity from mass extinction? Then make certain to safeguard the 74 sites identified today in a new study in Science. Evaluating 173,000 terrestrial protected areas, scientists pulled out the most important ones for global biodiversity based on the number of threatened mammals, birds, and amphibians found in the parks. In all they identified 137 protected areas (spread over 74 sites as many protected areas were in the same region) in 34 countries as 'irreplaceable.'


Adorable baby olinguito photographed in Colombia (picture)

(11/01/2013) Researchers returning from an expedition to a cloud forest in Colombia have released photos of the world's most recently-discovered carnivore, the olinguito.


Featured video: 'this is day one for the olinguito'

(09/04/2013) Last month scientists unveiled a remarkable discovery: a new mammal in the order Carnivora (even though it mostly lives off fruits) in the Andean cloud forests. This was the first new mammal from that order in the Western Hemisphere since the 1970s. The olinguito had long been mistaken for its closest relatives, olingos—small tree-dwelling mammals that inhabit the lowland rainforests of South and Central America—however genetic research showed the olinguito had actually been separated by 3-4 million years from its cousins.


Meet the BABY olinguito

(08/18/2013) Since its announcement on Thursday, the olinguito—the world's newest mammal—has taken the world by storm. Hundreds of articles have been written about the new species, while its cuddly appearance has already been made the subject of cartoons. Now, conservationists have released the first photos of a baby olinguito. The new photos come from La Mesenia Conservation Project in Colombia, an Andean cloud forest reserve that is a project area for the NGO SavingSpecies.


Colombia establishes giant rainforest park to protect 'uncontacted' tribes

(08/16/2013) Next week the Colombian government will officially double the size of its largest national park, reports El Espectador.


Scientists discover teddy bear-like mammal hiding out in Andean cloud forests (photos)

(08/15/2013) While the olinguito looks like a wild, tree-climbing teddy bear with a cat's tail, it's actually the world's newest mammalian carnivore. The remarkable discovery—the first mammal carnivore uncovered in the Western Hemisphere since the 1970s—was found in the lush cloud forests of the Andes, a biodiverse region home to a wide-range of species found no-where else. Dubbed the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), the new mammal is a member of a little-known, elusive group of mammals—olingos—that are related to raccoons, coatis, and kinkajous. However, according to its description in the journal Zookeys, the olinguito is the most distinct member of its group, separated from other olingos by 3-4 million years (or longer than Homo sapiens have walked the Earth).


Colombian mining dispute highlights legislative disarray

(06/27/2013) Colombian authorities have ruled that local environmental officials acted correctly in ordering South African mining giant AngloGold Ashanti to halt their work, following demands from the multinational corporation for their disciplining. Cortolima, the environmental authority of the department of Tolima in central Colombia, stopped AngloGold from conducting unsanctioned exploration activities in the Tolima municipality of Piedras in March.


Deforestation rates for Amazon countries outside Brazil

(06/26/2013) Deforestation has sharply increased in Amazon countries outside of Brazil, finds a new analysis based on satellite data. Using data from Terra-i, O-Eco's InfoAmazonia team has developed updated forest cover maps for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. The results reveal an increasing trend in forest clearing since 2004.


Indigenous sacred sites now qualify as protected areas in Colombia

(05/28/2013) The first indigenous sacred site set aside under a new category of protected area in Colombia has been established in the northeastern part of the South American country. The development is significant because it could spur other indigenous sacred sites in Colombia to be granted protected status.


For Easter: a baby horned screamer chick (photo)

(03/31/2013) A chick — typically a baby chicken — is a common symbol for Easter. Since we're Mongabay, today we're highlighting another type of chick: a young horned screamer from Eastern Colombia.


Two new species of mini-salamander discovered in Colombia

(02/28/2013) Biologists have discovered two new species of salamander in Tamá National Natural Park in Colombia. While the discovery should be cause for celebration, the news was dampened by the fact that both species are already infected with the deadly fungal disease, known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which has wiped out amphibian populations worldwide. Both of the new salamanders belong to the genus Bolitoglossa, which are web-footed salamanders found in the tropical Americas.


Long lost tribe spotted in the Colombian Amazon

(02/23/2013) The March 2013 issue of Smithsonian magazine features an account of the flight that confirmed the presence of an isolated indigenous tribe in a remote part of the Colombian Amazon.


First strike: nearly 200 illegal loggers arrested in massive sting across 12 countries

(02/20/2013) One-hundred-and-ninety-seven illegal loggers across a dozen Central and South American countries have been arrested during INTERPOL's first strike against widespread forestry crime. INTERPOL, or The International Criminal Police Organization, worked with local police forces to take a first crack at illegal logging. In all the effort, known as Operation Lead, resulted in the seizure of 50,000 cubic meters of wood worth around $8 million.


Colombia to double the size of massive Amazon reserve to include uncontacted tribes' land

(01/10/2013) Colombia may more than double the size of the remote and poorly-known Chiribiquete National Park to make it the biggest protected area in the Colombian Amazon, reports El Espectador. Chiribiquete best known for its unusual rock formations, including mesa-like tepuis and dramatic waterfalls, but also features at least 32 cave painting sites with some 250,000 drawings, making it a key center for indigenous culture.


The year in rainforests

(12/31/2012) 2012 was another year of mixed news for the world's tropical forests. This is a look at some of the most significant tropical rainforest-related news stories for 2012. There were many other important stories in 2012 and some were undoubtedly overlooked in this review. If you feel there's something we missed, please feel free to highlight it in the comments section. Also please note that this post focuses only on tropical forests.


Dams are rapidly damning the Amazon

(12/08/2012) Dam-builders seeking to unlock the hydroelectric potential of the Amazon are putting the world's mightiest river and rainforest at risk, suggests a new assessment that charts the rapid expansion of dams in the region.


108 million ha of Amazon rainforest up for oil and gas exploration, development

(12/08/2012) Concessions for oil and gas exploration and extraction are proliferating across Amazon countries, reports a comprehensive new atlas of the region.


Deforestation rate falls across Amazon rainforest countries

(12/06/2012) The average annual rate of deforestation across Amazon rainforest countries dropped sharply in the second half of the 2000s, reports a comprehensive new assessment of the region's forest cover and drivers of deforestation. While the drop in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been widely reported, several other Amazon countries saw their rates of forest loss drop as well, according to the report, which was published by a coalition of 11 Latin American civil society groups and research institutions that form the Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG).




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