Venado Verde Campaign

LATEST CAMPAIGN NEWS: Many thanks to the amazing people at Conservation Allies who have guaranteed to match all donations up to the first $5,000! So now there’s even more reason to donate to help save Venado Verde.

For those of you in the US who prefer a tax-deductable donation directly to Conservation Allies, simply click on the link below. But don’t worry, donations to Venado Verde through any link will still be eligible for matching funds.

Artists come together to save imperiled Colombian rainforest 

International non-profit organisation, Neotropical Primate Conservation (NPC), has today launched an innovative campaign which brings together international artists and conservationists with a shared aim of protecting threatened forests on Colombia’s Pacific coast.

Led by artist, Steve Hutton, of The Dark Raven Chronicles fame, contributions will be made by both professional and amateur artists, as well as school children in both Colombia and France. All proceeds from the sale of the artwork will contribute to the formal legal protection of the 2000 acre Venado Verde reserve.

The area, in western Colombia, is part of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Biodiversity Hotspot, one of the most biodiverse regions on earth, with an estimated 11,000 plant, 1,728 bird, and 595 mammal species many of which are already threatened with extinction. The need for legal protection has become urgent as the local community fights to protect the area from being turned into a waste disposal site, and potential mining. 

Areas proposed for protecting

Those interested in purchasing artwork, or donating to the cause, can do so via the campaign’s crowdfunding page where people can donate or pledge an amount in order to receive a print by one of the artists involved in the project. 

Community leader Juan Andres contemplates by one of Venado Verde’s many waterfalls

Sam Shanee, founder of NPC, speaking from their Peruvian headquarters says 

“The community is depending on this campaign to gain protection for this incredible area with over 25 waterfalls, countless species and Afro-Colombian community, whose health and livelihoods depend on the forest and its water sources.

Our flagship species for the area is the Colombian black-headed spider monkey, one of the least known species, and already highly threatened”. 

Adult male spider monkey

Since its foundation in 2007, Neotropical Primate Conservation has gained legal protection for wildlife throughout 22 reserves in Peru, with one of their major achievements to date being for the Yellow-Tailed woolly monkey, a Critically Endangered species now found in many protected areas and with local populations growing in size since 2011.

Having recently expanded to include permanent offices in Peru, Colombia, and Argentina, the NPC team now comprises mainly South American nationals. This is the first land protection initiative launched by the charity in Colombia.

NPC were approached by the Cordoba-San Cipriano Community and regional authorities to map and survey the area, a task which comprises months of research and expensive equipment. The team aims to gain protection for the site by confirming the presence of several endangered species. The Colombian black-headed spider monkey (see photo above) has already been confirmed.  

The area to be protected for generations to come

The campaign and art sale, hosted from the UK, France and South America on social media as ‘Do Your (P)art for the Forest’ (a play on words which works in all 3 languages) is headed up by UK Artist Steve Hutton (concept artist for film and author/illustrator of the Dark Raven chronicles) with illustrations by other artists to be released on a monthly basis until the campaign closes in December.

However the real heroes of the day are the kids, the children of the Venado Verde forest community, who will produce artwork inspired by their forest home to go on sale in the Autumn. The work will be echoed by children in rural France, and the groups will exchange video ‘diaries’ depicting where they live and the nature surrounding them. The French children’s artwork will go up for sale early December.

Art by Steve Hutton

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