Saving the blue-billed curassow: an emergency student conservation initiative

Jose Ochoa

The Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti - local name “Paujil”), endemic to Colombia and the Nechí Endemic Bird Area (EBA), is one of the most critically endangered birds in existence. Intensive deforestation, hunting and human settlements throughout the Nechí EBA has eradicated C. alberti from much of its historic range and is entirely unprotected in its remaining habitat. The risk of extinction is therefore acute and the need for immediate remedial conservation action cannot be overstated. This emergency student initiative aims to promote the conservation of this flagship species by producing a comprehensive 5-year management strategy in what is likely to be a final attempt to secure the future of C. alberti. In order to achieve this aim, the team will employ a range of ecological and anthropological field-based methodologies, including a rapid assessment of C. alberti’s current status in remaining forest fragments across the Nechí EBA, together with detailed censuses at two key sites. This student initiative recognizes the need for a long-term solution and priority focus will be given to training and capacity building through the involvement of Colombian students, local NGOs and Universities. Working in consultation with these interest groups, this initiative will provide the foundation for the implementation of lasting conservation action.

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