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Venezuelan government takeover of Hato Pinero (1 Viewer)


New member
Report of visit to Hato Piñero.
7-8 December 2010.

I visited Hato Piñero in response to an invitation of the manager of the ranch. Effective March 2010 the ranch have been sold to and is currently under the management of a huge farming corporation owned by the Venezuelan government.

I visited most of the natural areas reachable by car and I am glad to report that the ranch ecosystems are ok. In that regard, everything the same way I have seen in more than 25 years of visit and research inside this amazing natural areas. However, the tourism facilities are damaged around the west area covering the dining room and some rooms. The east side seems ok and this one covers six rooms.

Regarding the field trips, the roads leading to Puente Benjamin, Los Cerritos are Laguna Grande are opened and well maintained. The trails along the sides of the Caño San Geronimo and the road to Matajei need to be reopen.

I am glad to report that effective January 4th, 2011 I have been given permission to operate tours in Hato Piñero. We will have a limit of six rooms located in the east side of the house and the dining room contiguous ton these rooms (small dining room).

Due to our strong image as a conservation oriented company and given the educational program we have run in the ranch for more than two decades we have been chosen as one of the very few companies that will operate birding tours in Hato Piñero.

Needless to say, things remain changing in Venezuela and the status of Hato Pinero for 2012 is still unclear to me. Although I was given guarantee to operate the tours in 2011 I will need to keep a continuous communication with the management of the ranch to learn the situation for 2012 and the following years.

I was planning to give a more detailed information regarding the history of the ranch and the future of it, but lack of time have forced me to post this message.

David Ascanio
<[email protected]>
Venezuela has a fairly extensive protected National Park system, correct me if I'm wrong. It is also the least urbanised country in Latin America, surely? The value of places like Hato Piñero, El Cedral, etc. is that they are accessible and hospitable to globetrotting foreign visitors - their unique and critical conservation value is surely being overstated by many posters. Some countries neighbouring Venezuela do have private reserves which have been pinpointed as genuinely critical for conservation, but this is not the case with the llanos reserves here mentioned.
I understand that this is a birders' forum, and that birders bird, and we travel to bird and tick and list. But is it not the case that too many posts here are playing the conservation card inappropriately, for properties which are not either historically or actually conservation save-or-die hotspots but rather handy places to get your lifers while being comfortably accomodated?
I am also a fanatical birder, I just think we ought to be more honest with ourselves - world birding and ticking is itself a (very carbon-hungry) form of consumerism. The places we, as birders, visit have political, historical and economic realities and we should respect those in the same way as respect a farmer's land and interests when we bird at home. In fact, it may actually be bad for conservation in the long run if birders are seen to systematically ignore these realities in deference to our shared hobby.


Well-known member
..The value of places like Hato Piñero, El Cedral, etc. is that they are accessible and hospitable to globetrotting foreign visitors - their unique and critical conservation value is surely being overstated by many posters.

William; if you could point me to a Protected Area (that is protected by statute) in Venezuala with healthy populations of yellow-knobbed currasows and orinocco geese, I'd be grateful. Perhaps Aguaro Guariquito: See


Wetlands (such as the Llanos) are usually greatly unrepresented within Protected Area networks, probably because there are so many (human) stakeholders....

Cheers, alan


Well-known member
Post #42 What a load of garbage and that's being polite. Cedral or Pinero isn't/wasn't luxury accommodation by any stretch of the imagination. Have you visited either of these reserves? This post smells of having an underlying political agenda. If conservation is your concern you have lost your common sense.


New member
Hi everyone,

I just posted a new threat with recent information about both ranches. No need to disagree with what have been posted recently.

On a way, it is true that Venezuela has a great deal of its land protected as national parks, but that works more in the paper. And, many national parks host a very rich wildlife due to the isolation rather than effective protection.

Now, regarding Hato El Cedral and Hato Piñero, I should give some technical info about either one:

Hato Piñero.
1. It has 10.000+ hectare of tropical dry forest. Although much is said about the Amazon forest, it is the dry forest the most threatened habitat in northern South America. Piñero´s patch of dry forest represents the largest anywhere in northern Venezuela.
2. It might holds the largest viable population of Jaguar anywhere north of the Orinoco.
3. It has the largest population of Yellow-knobbed Curassow anywhere in this continent.
4. It has a viable population of other cats, including ocelot and puma.

Hato El Cedral.
1. It has the most extensive wetlands in the low llanos during the peak of the dry season.
2. It is a stop over site for waders on their flight back to the breeding grounds.
3. It has viable populations of Anaconda and Giant Anteater.
4. Is the only location where a viable population of Orinoco Goose remains in Venezuela.

Last but not least, both locations are considered IBA's and host more than 300 species of birds.

Trust me, it is worthy to work with the government (or whom else own these ranches) to secure the protection of the natural areas.

My best,

David Ascanio


Pantanal Bird Club
Congratulations David.

I share the same thinking, if our goverment is run by "blind" people nothing better than put a man with eyes there to lead them in the darkness. If we do not participate, they are going to convert all grasslands and wetlands in agricultural areas, does not matter at what cost (environmental or financial).

Keep in fighting from inside!!!

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