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Ecotourism and Puerto Lara Trail Improvements

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

In 2017, Native Future volunteers, with the Wounaan National Congress, launched the Wounaan Bird Count, or Nemchaain T^ʌa Wai Wënʌrrag as it is known their native language, to bring global attention to the biodiversity conservation Wounaan have practiced for generations. Since then, the program has been developing community-based bird conservation and ecotourism in the Wounaan communities of Puerto Lara, Rio Hondo, and Platanares. Over 35 Wounaan men and women have been trained to count and identify birds in Wounaan Meo, English and Spanish with the intent of increasing local knowledge of their birdlife.Native Future re-initiated Wounaan Bird Count training and ecotourism development in Puerto Lara, Rio Hondo, and Platanares in August, 2021 in conjunction with the project Digital Transformation of Indigenous-led Ecotourism and Conservation. A principal activity this year has been the rehabilitation of the birdwatching trail in Puerto Lara which deteriorated over the two years of the pandemic from lack of use. New signs and places to rest have been installed and eroded areas of the trail are being repaired.

Puerto Lara’s Manakin Trail will be ready to receive birdwatchers by the end of this year!

Community members and birdwatching guides are hard at work in Platanares, improving trails and preparing their community for ecotourists. One trail was originally cut by loggers to extract valuable hardwood trees. Now, the people of Platanares are turning it around. Their reforestation efforts aim to bring back ecologically and culturally important trees which provide habitats for the more than 100 bird species that migrate through the Majé Mountain Range. They’re excited to share more about their birdlife with you!

One guide-in-training says that ecotourism represents an opportunity to provide "an improved quality of life" for their children, and for the community, while also protecting the biodiversity of their forests. Through trail improvements and reforestation, these communities are preparing for the upcoming tourist season and demonstrating the value of native stewardship.


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