We are thrilled to announce a major breakthrough!
We are thrilled to announce a major breakthrough!
View from around Reserva Mono Bayo
We are thrilled to announce a major breakthrough! Through a joint project of Paso Pacifico and IUCN NL/SPN, sponsored by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, we will make a 120-acre land purchase and create the new Mono Bayo Wildlife Reserve in 2017. This name is in honor of the endangered black-handed spider monkeys (monos bayos) who live there. The new property is located in the heart of the Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor and contains mature tracts of endangered dry tropical forest. This reserve will be a haven for the area's flora and fauna, including ocelots, two-toed sloths, and yellow-naped Amazon parrots. The area will also help connect habitat areas across the wider corridor. 
We would not be able to purchase this property without the help of people like you. Paso Pacifico made the initial good faith payment of $20,000 on the property with the help of our individual donors. Over the past year, other supporters stepped up to help us build basic reserve infrastructure and monitor spider monkeys on the land. These supporters include Primate Conservation Inc, the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, Prince Bernhard Nature Fund, and the Disney Conservation Fund. Thanks to you and these other key partners, an area of 120 acres will be secured for the future of our planet!
An additional 70-acre parcel that borders the Mono Bayo Reserve is now up for sale. Paso Pacifico will be working to safeguard this neighboring land. If you would like to be a part of this effort, please contact our executive director Sarah Otterstrom.
Endangered black-handed spider monkeys
El Nuevo Diario gallery from the recent press trip
Last month, reporters from more than ten newspaper and television outlets traveled to the Paso del Istmo as part of a press trip to promote community-led tours. These tours are part of a tourism circuit known as the Southern Route: Forests and Turtles.
In supporting the local business owners, we aim to promote the extraordinary beauty and biodiversity in this area while also improving the livelihoods of its local residents. The outings included a snorkel tour, mountain biking, an oxcart tour to a 360-degree scenic view, dining at local restaurants, a hike to view a pre-Columbian archeological site, and community-led tours to the La Flor Wildlife Refuge. The local companies in this program have received training and material support through the ELLAS Initiative funded by IADB's Multi-Lateral Investment Fund (MIF). Over the past three years, this initiative has helped us to provide training in tourism, restaurant and hotel services to more than a dozen locally-owned businesses, many of which are owned and managed by women. Ultimately, the ecotourism services in the Paso del Istmo will help place this tourism destination at the forefront of Nicaragua's community-based tourism sector.
You can view here the perspective of one reporter who attended the press trip. This press trip was made possible by MIF as well as the USFS-International Institute for Tropical Forestry.
Landowners in Escameca Grande
One of our greatest partners in the Paso del Istmo are the private landowners who support conservation through the protection of their properties. Many of these landowners participate as members in the Red de Reservas Silvestres Privadas de Nicaragua (Red-RSP), a network of 63 private forest reserves from across Nicaragua. This year marks the Red-RSP's fifteenth anniversary of unified conservation! These dedicated landowners protect core building blocks of the Paso del Istmo. Moreover, they have arguably been the vanguard for conservation in the country, and their longtime president Claudi Belli was a founding board member for Paso Pacifico. She helped shape our vision of landowner participation in conservation.
Red-RSP members participate in conservation in many ways. Some members promote ecotourism, some focus on sustainable farming and cultural preservation, and some simply preserve the environment as it is. La Guacamaya and Las Fincas reserves partner with us to monitor threatened animal populations and patrol the reserves weekly, while La Conga and La Escameca Grande reserves collaborate with us to survey wildlife and protect targeted species like the Chola Chata iguana and yellow-naped Amazon parrot. Red-RSP members also work with us on special projects like placing artificial parrot nests and protecting sea turtles. We are honored and grateful to work with these dedicated conservationists.
To learn more about them and to meet some of these conservation pioneers, check out this Spanish-language video that was made for their tenth anniversary.
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Harrington Javier García Paz is a member of the Paso Pacifico family. He works as a dedicated forest ranger and also cares for primates at the Karen Warren and Susan White Spider Monkey Sanctuary now located at the Mono Bayo Reserve. 
Harrington is a passionate environmental advocate. We got to know him nine years ago as the 14-year-old son of our forest ranger Jose Felipe, who is based at Reserva Silvestre Privada Guacamaya. Harrington was an excellent student and very involved in helping his father manage the forest. We recommended him for a scholarship from the USAID SEED program. Through that support, he earned a degree in natural resources technology from Mt. Hood Community College in 2014.
We were all thrilled at his return to Nicaragua and immediately hired him onto the team. Because of his attention to detail and concern for wildlife, he received specialized training and was hired as an animal keeper at the spider monkey sanctuary. There, Harrington provides daily enrichment for the monkeys and educates local students about wildlife. He also assists the other forest rangers with monitoring the wild spider monkey populations.
Earlier this month, Harrington married his childhood sweetheart, Milay Rodriguez-Cortez. We congratulate them and wish them all the best as they begin their new journey together.
Smiling Junior Ranger
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Happy co-op member with oysters
As the year closes, Paso Pacifico thanks Santa Barbara Mariculture and the University of Southern California Department of Biological Sciences for their expertise in helping the women of the Ostional Women's Oyster Cooperative. Their aquaculture experts recently traveled to Nicaragua to advise the cooperative on oyster aquaculture management, and are helping us to explore several seeding options for the Tropical Rock Oyster. Bernard Friedman of Santa Barbara Mariculture and Nate Churches of USC had many valuable insights that will further the cooperative's progress. These visits were supported by the Waitt Foundation. We are grateful to all our partners on this project who are helping these women move towards economic independence while also increasing the sustainability of local fisheries.
Co-op member points out shellfish
Monkey Day