Emergency Funding Initiative for the Dracula Reserve

Your help is urgently needed to raise $100,000 to prevent gold miners from vandalizing land in the middle of the OCA supported Dracula Reserve.

The Dracula reserve is a conservation area in Northern Ecuador, near the border to Colombia. This is a lush green landscape of forests and mountains and currently covers over 2800 acres. This region is the center of diversity for the genus Dracula, for which the reserve was named. Since the establishment of the reserve in 2015, the Dracula reserve is now known to contain an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the valley in which the reserve resides. Early surveys of the Dracula reserve identified over 160 different orchid species from 55 different genera, and this list continues to grow. Recent discoveries include two new mouse species (Pattonimus ecominga and Chilomys georgeledecii), shrew opossums, new frogs (e.g. Hyloscirtus consciencia, and Pristimantis sp.), toads, and lizards (Anolis dracula  and  Echinosaurus fischeri). Of great interest to the OCA, the reserve also contains new orchid species, including Scaphosepalum zieglerae, Pleurothallis chicalensis, Trevora sp., Pseudolepanthes bihuae, Lepanthes tulcanensis as well as several new Lepanthes and Pleurothallis sp. yet to be described.  Biological field research is currently being carried out here by several national and foreign institutions, and there are sure to be more exciting discoveries as they explore this incredible place.

But today, the very survival of this reserve is threatened by illegal mining.

Here’s what we’re talking about and the help we need from you.

The image below (left) shows, in white, the properties owned and protected in EcoMinga’s Dracula Reserve in northern Ecuador. Lot A, at 274 acres (yellow), and Lot B, at 1050 acres (red), which flank Dracula Reserve properties, are currently being illegally mined and are sought for purchase by the mining company. The image of the destroyed streambed (right) shows where they have started mining; mining leaves water polluted with cyanide, mercury, and sediment long after it destroys the plant and animal habitat. The owners of these properties are willing to sell to EcoMinga for the reserve. However, EcoMinga and we and our partners don’t have the money in hand to buy the lots. We need to raise a total of $100,000 to purchase Lot A at $364 per acre. Our partner ReservaYLT has committed to raising the funds to buy Lot B.

Gold mining is one of the most destructive industries in the world. It displaces communities, contaminates drinking water, and destroys pristine environments permanently. Gold mining pollutes both the water and the land with mercury and cyanide, pollutants that are damaging to all flora and fauna, including the human inhabitants. The resulting erosion clogs streams and rivers, and can even taint marine ecosystems far downstream of the mine site. Most forms of gold mining involve moving massive amounts of soil and rock.

We are just over half way to our goal. Please help us get there! And time is of the essence as we must get our funding together to create a counter offer to the gold mining companies. You can donate online through the Orchid Conservation Alliance website, and any donation you can give, no matter how small, will be welcome! If you are a US resident, your donations are tax deductible.

If you are interested in making a transformative donation, there are several new species of orchids available for a species naming donation ($15,000/donation). For more information about newsletter content or transformative donations, please contact Mary Gerritsen.  mary@orchidconservationalliance.org


Emergency Funding Initiative for the Dracula Reserve

Please send your tax deductible donation to us:

  • Donate Online Now
  • Via a check made out to Orchid Conservation Alliance and sent to Mary Gerritsen, 541 Parrott Dr., San Mateo, CA 94402

Looking forward to your much needed support for this critical project,

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tobias, President, Orchid Conservation Alliance

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