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White-eyed Puffbird is one of many bird species found in Paraguay. Photo by Dario Sanches (
White-eyed Puffbird is one of many bird species found in Paraguay. Photo by Dario Sanches ( image

Guyra Paraguay marks 15th anniversary

Birdwatch news team
Posted on: 31 Dec 2012

Conservation organisation Guyra Paraguay has celebrated 15 successful years. The World Land Trust’s partner in Paraguay marked the occasion with a special publication which included testimonials from international experts including WLT patron Sir David Attenborough.

‘Guyra’ means bird in the language of the indigenous Guaraní people of Paraguay, and in 1997 Guyra’s founding mission was to conserve endangered birds by identifying and protecting the most important bird habitats. With the support of the RSPB, a strategic plan was drawn up, and the Guyra team set about carrying out bird surveys and mapping, important work that was to lay the foundations for the country’s Biodiversity Database.

In the 15 years since then, the Guyra team (including students and volunteers) has surveyed more than 500 different sites and made 150,000 recordings of 1,600 species of vertebrates. Today Paraguay has 57 Important Bird Areas (IBAs), a testament to Guyra’s great success.

One of Guyra’s greatest feats is the preservation of San Rafael, the last remnant of Atlantic rainforest in Paraguay. Over a 10-year period from 2002, acre by acre, Guyra has saved 17,393 acres (7,039 ha) of rainforest in the Guyra Reta Reserve.

“I have always loved Paraguay since I went there to film Zoo Quest for the BBC more than 50 years ago," said Sir David Attenborough. "It is one of the world’s last great wild places and it is particularly encouraging that a large part of it is how it was when I was there half a century ago. Congratulations to Guyra Paraguay in its efforts to protect the marvellous biodiversity of their country.”

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