Khamai (meaning “on the ground” in Greek) is an emerging foundation led by young conservationists devoted to reverse the tropical biodiversity crisis and help mitigate the effects of global warming. Khamai focuses on conservation issues and areas not addressed by other NGOs or by the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador. The foundation is unique in having the following goals:

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1. Creating reserves targeting amphibians and reptiles, an ignored group

Not evaluated by IUCN

2. Protecting species not yet described or still not evaluated by the IUCN

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3. Accelerate the discovery of new species

Khamai is focused on creating reserves for amphibians and reptiles, which can be particularly susceptible to environmental degradation and pollution. By protecting this often ignored animal group, in turn hundreds if not thousands of other species in the reserves will be protected, too.

Pitalala Reserve (meaning “viper” in Kichwa) will be a privately-protected area in the upper-Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. In addition to helping stop and reverse the damage caused by open-pit gold mining in the Río Anzu area, the reserve’s goals are:

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1. Rewild the “accesible” part of the Ecuadorian Amazon

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2. Reverse the deforestation trend in the upper Amazon rainforest

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3. Help mitigate the effects of global warming

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4. Provide an alternative income source to gold mining in the Río Anzu area

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5. Promote the research and conservation of Amazonian biodiversity

Map showing the proposed expansion plan for Pitalala Reserve

Map 1: Proposed expansion plan between Pitalala Reserve and the existing Jatun Sacha Reserve. The proposed corridor would create an area of 10,200 hectares consisting of a matrix of primary rainforest, secondary forest, and pastures in different degrees of regeneration.

Pitalala Reserve will help mitigate the effects of climate change by saving rainforests from deforestation. The destruction of tropical forests is responsible for up to 15% of net global carbon emissions each year. This is more than what is produced by all of the planet’s cars, planes, ships, and trains combined. Every day, more than 28,000 hectares of tropical forest are destroyed. By protecting forests, you can help keep the carbon they store from ending up in the atmosphere.

Reduction of atmospheric emissions from various individual actions Reduction of atmospheric emissions from various individual actions

Table 1: Reduction of atmospheric emissions (tCO2e per year) from various individual actions. Based on data from: Wynes & Nicholas (2017) and Klitgaard et al. (unpublished). © 2019 Alejandro Arteaga.

How will donations be used?

  • 70% on land purchase
  • 18% on research projects
  • 10% on administration
  • 2% on grants

The creation of Pitalala Reserve will not only help mitigate climate change, it will also help stop the loss of biodiversity. For example, protecting 1 hectare of Amazon rainforest in Ecuador actually helps save the following number of animal species: