638 communities in this Reserve are struggling with making a living and losing their most vital resources. The people in Sierra Gorda care about and can help protect cloud forests which have dwindled to just 2% of their original coverage in partnership with us, proud to see wildlife return. Conservation has to happen on their land, some of Mexico's most threatened ecosystems that shelter the magnificent margay (Leopardus wiedii), ocelot and endangered jaguar. Education, income and protection.
Without income opportunities, the impoverished traditional landowners of Mexico's Sierra Gorda often resort to illegal logging, hunting and other harmful practices. Margays, one of the six feline species present in the area, are especially at risk, with more than 14,000 hunted and sold for their coats globally each year. Education, training, and technical assistance to local landowners is crucial for protecting these cats and preserving their habitat.
We work with local communities to create sustainable livelihoods, and actively engage them in the protection of the region. We provide fair compensation to landowners who undertake conservation activities, such as regenerating damaged habitats, as well as investing in community micro-enterprises, including ecotourism and fair trade eco-products that create sustainable alternatives to logging, hunting, and high-impact ranching.
A mix of conservation, community engagement, community-based environmental education and poverty alleviation, this program is not only protecting habitats now, but is also transforming the way local communities value their natural resources and ecosystems well into the future. By ensuring landowners' efforts to conserve these habitats are fairly compensated, you can help the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve to provide sanctuary for threatened wildlife for generations to come.