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Shocking when you read the article and see that 350 conservation scientists were murdered in Colombia in 2020 alone.
Maybe the country is not as safe as some would have us believe.
I visited back in 2011. We saw the Yellow-eared Parrots near Jardin, escorted by a local but I can't remember if it was Goncalo or not. The atmosphere around the square in Jardin was really relaxed and welcoming.
This is tragic and shocking news. I visited the Pro Aves yellow-eared parrot reserve at Ventanas in 2019 with Guillermo Nagy to check out their hummingbird feeders, not sure if it was Gonzalo who let us in the gate or one of the other staff. We saw lots of yellow-eared parrots, including a flock of >50 on the Riosucio side of the pass, so it really has been a conservation success story.
Agree Jardin seemed like a safe and welcoming little town, felt fine wandering round on my own and birding from the suspension bridge at the edge of town. I guess it might be a different matter if you are trying to achieve something for nature conservation which is perceived to interfere with someone's criminal economic interests.
It would be good to know if anyone in Colombia is setting up a crowdfunder for his family, or indeed for other conservation biologists killed by criminal gangs.
From checking other sources, I think the 350 "conservation scientists" include all people involved in land rights. Still grim!
I was in Jardín during de "Festival de las Rosas", which meant there was very loud music on the town square all night. Our hotel was on the town square as well...
The situation appears to have actually become worse after the peace treaty with the FARC. It was never safe, although some of our guides made sure not to tell what was happening at close quarters!
Just did a Google translate on a news item on the Pro Aves website (https://proaves.org/cierre-preventivo-de-la-reserva-proaves-loros-andinos/) - 'Due to the murder of Gonzalo Cardona Molina, Coordinator of the ProAves Loros Andinos Reserve, the reserve will be closed to the public until further notice.
The ProAves Foundation, prioritizing the safety of its work team, will not provide any type of ecotourism service and will keep the ProAves Loros Andinos Reserve temporarily closed, located between the municipalities of Roncesvalles, in the department of Tolima, and Génova, in the Quindío department.
The entire community and visitors will be informed about its reopening.'
Just to clarify here, ProAves are talking about the Loros Andinos Reserve at Roncesvalles, not the Loro Orejiamarillo reserve above Jardin - both are yellow-eared parrot reserves, but Loros Andinos is also the Fuertes's parrot site. I was mistaken to link this tragedy with possible trouble in the Jardin area, which AFAIK is still going to be a safe place to visit post-Covid.
As noted above by kb57, this tragic and senseless murder did not happen at the Proaves reserve near Jardin but rather in the Central Andes. The Loros Andinos reserve is rarely visited by tourists as that area has a more recent/current history of unrest than areas that are on the established tourism routes. Unfortunately, there remain corners of Colombia where safety of locals and in particular conservation/human rights activists remain seriously in danger.
However, for tourists the country remains as safe as anywhere in South America and more and more areas are opening up to tourism. With the signing of the peace deal huge swaths of the country are also now opened up to development and rampant deforestation for various reasons is making conservation and our eco-tourism dollars now more important than ever. I would hate for anyone to get the impression that this amazing country is no longer safe to visit, when our tourism dollars do so much good to ensuring that the hard work of people like Gonzalo continue to have a lasting positive impact on species at risk and nature in general.