WILD Campo Alegre – a natural reserve for endangered species

Campoalegre, "the happy/joyful land" is located on the westside of the Ruiz volcano in the most Northern part of the Andes in Colombia. The area contains the unique eco-system the páramo, a kind of alpine tundra, large cloud forests, and open fields where the forest was cleared 60-100 years ago.

The cloud forest is different from the type of lowland rainforest you find in places like the Amazon, and is characterized by being covered in clouds around the canopy and by being covered by mosses. Here and in the páramo you find and incredibly high concentration of biodiversity, that is totally unique and contains of many indigenous and endangered species. But they need help. In December 2022 we got the opportunity to buy the first farm, finca in Spanish, called Cortaderal. It's 731 hectares (app. 1800 acres) and the base for our natural reserve WILD Campo Alegre*.

The purpose of the project is to replant the cloud forest on the open fields and create a larger and protected living area for the mountain tapir and the small fuertes parrot, that there is only 250-300 individuals left of in the World. But it lives right here!

Besides the big job of planting trees we'll also create focused initiatives for different species and start different research project with local and foreign researchers. We'll put up a large amount of camera traps, that will help us understand the wildlife in the area. At some point we hope to be able to stream directly from the cameras so you can follow the development on the screen in your home.

We also hope, that with support from large and small we'll be able to expand the reserve and plant forest on 2,000-3,000 hectares (5,000-7,500 acres) so the animals and nature get more space.

*The project is made possible by the support from the Kirk Kristiansen family's holding and investment company KIRKBI A/S

  • Woolly and with 'lipstick'

    The mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) is the only kind of tapir that doesn't live in a tropical rainforest. Instead it lives in the cloud forest high up in the north-western Andes. On the IUCN's redlist it's listed as being endangered with a falling number of individuals. The photos is taken by a camera trap in our project area and people there see it regularly.

    Photo: The Andean Tiger Cat Conservation Project.

  • There are so few left

    The Fuertes parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi) is critically endangered. IUCN estimates that there's only between 250 and 300 individuals left in nature. There are several pairs that lives and breeds in our project area. By protecting the existing forest and planting more including the trees that feed the birds and by making targeted efforts to help it's survival we hope we can be a part of saving it from extinction.

    Photo: John Cahill


  • Cows or cloud forest

    Large areas of the cloud forest has been cleared to make way for open grass fields with dairy or meat cattle. But the cows yield very little milk and the exposed ground is very swampy. It's on fields like this that we can resurrect the cloud forest and connect the small pockets of existing forest in the gullies with the main forest higher up and provide the endangered species with a larger and more protected living area.

    Photo: Finn Frandsen

  • Our man in the field

    Christian Frimodt-Møller is in charge of WILD Campo Alegre and has been living in Colombia for 10 years. He's actually a biologist but has been working in tourism, especially in nature, for most of his life. He got the idea for the project originally when he was bicycling in the area and discovered the big difference you could make here. Thanks to Christian the project has close ties to the local universities, the environmental authorities and the other landowners in the area, who all back the nature reserve.

    Photo: Finn Frandsen

  • No water, no life

    The reserve has another very important function besides protecting the animals: We also protect water ressources coming from the volcano. On the reserve there are many streams and springs, that supply water to the cities of Santa Rosa de Cabal and Pereira, who depend on this water. Deforestation create risks of landslides and pollution of the streams by stock and we can avoid both hazards by replanting the forest.

    Photo: Finn Frandsen

  • Barbed wire

    The whole area was initially divided into fields surrounded by barbed wire. The wire was supposed to keep the cattle in the fields but it also prevents animals like the mountain tapir from roaming freely. Fur from the mountain tapir has been found on the spikes of the barbed wire in several places and wounds/scars have been observed on mountain tapirs as well. It is therefor of enormous importance to remove the barbed wire and it's one of the most important things we do besides planting trees. But as long as our neighbors have cattle on the adjourning fields we also have to protect the new and the old forest with a fence. In time we hope that we can expand the reserve so this won't be necessary.

    Photo: Finn Frandsen

  • Our base

    The only people living here this high in the mountains are mainly workers on the fincas. Most of the owners live in the city. Every property has a main house like most farms, and the one on Cortaderal was in pretty bas shape, when we took over. But restauration has begun as sustainable as possible, so the house can a comfortable and "hyggelig" base for everyone working or visiting the reserve including researchers.

WILD Nature Foundation

250 DKK (€34) = 120 m2 (1300 square feet)

For 250 DKK (app. €34) you can buy a WILD-share. One share equals an area of app. 120 m2 (app. 1300 square feet) of land on our first finca Cortaderal.

We have already bought the land. So we use the money for the share to run the reserve and to buy more land, when we have the capital. But we also spend some of the money on developing the foundation and new projects. Because there are many wild animals and a lot of wild nature in the World that need help and protection.

Read more about WILD-shares

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