Click HERE for information on our Honduran Birding and Natural History Tours
SCROLL DOWN for brief summaries on some of our first projects. As we expand, we will continue to post details on what we are doing, as well as links to what our partners are doing. We are all volunteers, so except for summer field seasons and other holidays, we are often busy in other pursuits, but as we move forward, we plan to make this webpage a central repository for valuable information on Honduran biodiversity, cultural diversity, and protected areas, beyond our own specific initiatives.
We should also mention that we have undertaken a largely invisible, but (we feel) important role as representatives of ethical environmentalism, and have gone as far as publicly denouncing (in general terms, without naming names) the unethical as well as wasteful practices of those claiming to be involved in environmental protection and biological research. The focus of this website is NOT advocacy or denunciation, for we are trying to construct a positive and non-combative image, but you can certainly contact us about issues of concern. In the past, we have been asked to examine Environmental Impact Statements and give advice about an array of issues, including road-building, hydroelectric projects, and mining in protected areas, and where these impact the communities with whom we partner, we take specific, unwavering stances.
PLEASE NOTE that we fully intend (as of early 2015) to provide pages in Spanish as well!
Biodiversity, Endemism, and Community-based Conservation in Unsurveyed Cloud Forests of Northeastern Honduras, Part I (2012-2013)
With the aid of a small National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration grant, a multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Dr. Bonta engaged in an intensive effort to conduct rapid biological assessment of nine virtually unknown cloud forests in the departments of Olancho, Yoro, Colon, and Atlantida in 2012 and 2013. Partners included ICF, Zamorano University, and a host of community-based groups. We documented new and unusual species, aiding scientific knowledge of Mesoamerican biogeography and evolutionary biology and also helping justify new or additional protection of these neglected forests. While complete identifications of the many new species discovered will take years, a preliminary report is available here. Tragically, the field teams discovered rapid deforestation and numerous other grave threats taking place in all of the areas visited, both in unprotected areas and in established parks. A set of recommendations was delivered to the national directorate for protected areas and wildlife at ICF in Tegucigalpa in 2014.
This initiative includes a set of separate but interlocking research and conservation projects:
Conservation of the Honduran Emerald hummingbird and the thorn forest
Advocacy of endangered species status for the Honduran Emerald under the US Endangered Species Act
Participation in a Harpy Eagle nesting site conservation project, Parque Nacional Patuca
Promotion of the Paraiso en Peligro video to call attention to the plight of the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve
Three-wattled Bellbird research and conservation (see below)
Zoo Conservation Outreach Group executive director Dr. Daniel Hilliard raised funds from Zoo Boise, Naples Zoo, and Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to support a multi-year project in eastern Honduras to understand the complex movements and habitat requirements of this enigmatic species. Dr. Robin Bjork, who has worked with the Bellbird in Costa Rica, collaborated with Isidro Zuniga and Ruth Bennett to observe and capture bellbirds for satellite tracking. Four individuals were fitted with satellite collars in late 2014, and have already been tracked from the Sierra de Agalta to the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve and Patuca National Park.