Tesoro Escondido is a wildlife reserve located in the province of Esmereldas, Ecuador. The reserve was created to respond to the critical conservation status of both the Chocóan rainforests in northwestern Ecuador and the remaining Brown-headed spider monkeys which occupy them. Despite being a globally recognised biodiversity hotspot, the region suffers from some of the highest rates of deforestation in Latin America, with logging and agricultural expansion being key drivers of habitat loss.
In this context, Tesoro Escondido (Hidden Treasure), is a private reserve which is now home to half of the world’s remaining population of the critically endangered Brown-headed spider monkeys, as well as one of the only two known breeding populations of the Great green macaw in Ecuador. Its floral, reptilian and amphibian diversity is also known to be extremely high, meaning it is a treasure trove of biological diversity – not only in name.
The local staff of Tesoro Escondido led by Citlalli Morelos-Juarez are working with Sussex University to conserve this area of land through reforesting areas of degraded habitat. To do this, they engage local farmers to conserve their land and pursue sustainable livelihoods, aiming to expand the area under protection between Tesoro Escondido and a neighbouring reserve called Canandé.
Synchronicity Earth has supported the work at Tesoro Escondido in Ecuador since 2017.