Halting the extinction of the rarest birds in the Americas is essential to our mission and at the center of many of our bird reserve projects.
Globally, we help to prevent extinction by acting as Chair of the Alliance for Zero Extinction. Formed in 2000 and launched worldwide in 2005, the AZE engages more than 100 nongovernmental biodiversity conservation organizations working to prevent species extinctions. It works to identify and safeguard the places where species evaluated to be Endangered or Critically Endangered under IUCN-World Conservation Union criteria are restricted to single remaining sites.
Through AZE, we have identified 588 sites for 920 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, conifers, and reef-building corals, providing a tool to defend against many of the most predictable species losses.
At ABC, we use AZE to prioritize our site-based conservation work, such as reserve creation, focusing first on AZE bird species and sites. Examples include the Huembo Reserve in Peru, created to protect the Marvelous Spatuletail, and El Paujil Reserve in Colombia, which safeguards the Blue-billed Curassow.
In April 2016, a new global initiative was announced that will bring more resources to bristlefront conservation. Supported by the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Environment Programme, the initiative will mobilize $6.7 million to deliver a project entitled, “Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE): Conserving Earth’s Most Irreplaceable Sites for Endangered Biodiversity.”
In Peru, we worked in 2014 with the Ministry of the Environment to host a workshop to revise the national list of AZE sites for Peru, which currently include Abra Patricia and Huembo, home to the Long-whiskered Owlet (shown). The results will inform future protected area work and government funding priorities.
In 2015, we convinced the environmental agency of the Mexican government, CONABIO, to re-analyze and update the country’s AZE sites. This up-to-date data is a critical first step for advancing site-specific work, such as possible efforts to protect Worthen’s Sparrow (shown).
We advance species protection at AZE sites in the Americas through our nearly million-acre Latin American Bird Reserve Network with our partners. In 2014 alone, we helped Fundación Jocotoco to acquire 8,700 acres of habitat at five reserves in Ecuador, benefiting species like the Pale-headed Brush-finch (shown).