Bolivian Spinetail program

cranioleuca-henricae-bolivian-spinetail-d-alarcon-c-mateuSafeguarding the Bolivian Spinetail by empowering a local community

The Bolivian Spinetail (Cranioleuca henricae) is an Endangered species that was only discovered in 1993 in the Andes of western Bolivia. It exists nowhere else on Earth. Over the past 20 years, about 50% of its forested habitat has been cleared.

The area has been declared an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site and an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), yet there are currently no protected areas that include populations of the Bolivian Spinetail or this endemic habitat.

Armonía is working with the community of Machaca to protect this area through education, habitat restoration and the community’s sustainable development.

The Machaca community is extremely poor and has very limited access to services, like education and health. To overcome this problem, we are directly linking nature’s protection with improved living standards and livelihoods.

If our conservation programs across Bolivia are to become successful long-term, we must understand the needs of our people, especially poor and marginalized communities. This is why the empowerment of the Bolivian people is central to our mission.

The 3 main ways Armonía is protecting the Bolivian Spinetail by empowering the community are by:

  1. Research: We have carried out an ethnographic study to determine baselines for current land use and natural resource trends of the Machaca and neighboring communities. This has helped identify the potential, as well as limitations, of developing conservation activities in this area.
  2. Capacity building: We have run workshops in the community to help them establish alternative, extra incomes. We have also promoted participation in communal projects that were proposed by the community members to address their needs.
  3. Educational Campaigns: We have delivered workshops with teachers and educators to introduce them to environmental and conservation topics so that they can be included in the school curriculum. We have also printed educational material to raise awareness about the Bolivian Spinetail and its habitat.

The Bolivian Spinetail program is only in the initial stages of development and needs further support if we are to empower local people to save the species and its habitat. We need to scale-up our community work with the Machaca to protect this area through education, habitat restoration and community sustainable development.


If you would like to support the Bolivian Spinetail program – to save this Endangered species, while empowering a poor community – please donate.


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