Project KABEK- Families PRO-QUETZAL
The KABEK-Families PRO-QUETZAL project started in June 2010, under an initiative of the Serrano family, which aimed to provide new opportunities to benefit the different sectors and people living on the Cerro de la Muerte. Knowing the labor needs find in this area. Jorge Serrano, director of the KABEK project, remembers how, 11 years ago, the Quetzal could only be visible at certain times of the year, or through certain reserves and specific tourist places during the year. The situation of the location of the Quetzal, which was not visible during the off-season, gave a starting point in the project, the migration of this bird within the hill of death was unknown, this situation being one of the initial motivations for a project with a high degree of ambition and collaborative work. Initially, the Families of Cerro de la Muerte remained suspicious about the project, either because they feared to see foreigners in their properties, because of their crops, among other reasons that became a challenge for the project, but this with the over the years, it was left in the past and the project that had started with the Serrano family and the hotel Paraíso los Quetzales, which since its inception have worked in conservation and bird watching, with the first 3 families Pro-quetzal part , that over the years have become 23 Families that strive and be organized to carry out this project, all this poses an objective, to achieve visibility of the migration of the Quetzal out of season.
This effort of the communities, added to the Quetzal is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world, project mitigate the low seasons of the area, because regardless of work in tourism, agriculture, dairy, among other activities in the area , winters is a more difficult time, so we plan a more dynamic tourism to reactivate the economic one in Cerro de la Muerte and collaborate with families. The project works through the Hotel Paraíso de Quetzales, which promotes the visit of tourists from all over the world, traveling in search of bird watching, especially the Quetzal. Immediately the tourists are together with the local guide in charge of making the tour, the network of Pro-Quetzal families is activated, each family gives a notice of where the quetzal can be observed inside their property, in this way the families are involved and the economic renumeration between the parties, forming this collaborative work, which in turn positively impacts the economy, wildlife and all those involved. Pro-Quetzal families are families that respond to this initiative with energy and great enthusiasm, which contributes to the families gradually becoming involved in this network available within the project, giving greater sustainability to the project, however this network is not closed for other families to become part of the project, it is expected that more families will be involved than the 23 that the project has. Among them are particularities, since they are people with different levels of schooling, between low, medium and high, this because not all have the same opportunities for study. In addition, families with the passage of time have been transmitted different knowledge about protection of the land and wildlife, involving different species that coexist in the area and although it is true the Quetzal is the species that most people seek, this it gives rise to the fact that it becomes the badge of the project, because from the quetzal we can help other species and families in the Cerro de la Muerte.
In the KABEK project, the economy is one of the axes that stand out for the sustainability of these initiatives, since it requires resources for both research, families and the general organization, in this way families return to nature what nature provides them, the incentive or economic recognition gives them support on a day to day basis, motivating them to take care of their forest areas and plant and protect trees to generate nesting areas, since being a high area and with a climate that arrives to have low temperatures, families use fireplaces, wood stoves, however it is prohibited to cut trees in the area, then dead trees are used for firewood and do not affect the landscape.
Part of the progress of the project in this issue is the creation of artificial nests for the quetzal, initiated 6 years ago between different families and visitors have worked on adaptable designs for nests and it is not until May and June 2018 that it approaches a pair of quetzals to nest in one of these artificial nests, in this way we find the design that best suits the bird’s taste, which gives us an opportunity to replicate in other farms to assess results.
After all these years the Serrano family feels very gratified to see the growth of the project, since in the beginning it was a recurring theme of internal discussion among the family, when the hotel Paraíso los Quetzales starts with its restaurant, trails, Among other activities, it was always thought first of all to give new opportunities to the family and community and to carry out activities different from those usually done in the area.
Currently the different families work in the hotel, as assistants or local guides, in this way, from the hotel you can see new opportunities and diversify the activities, not only to the moras, the coffee or cattle but to arrive new areas of work since you can not only depend on tourism.
KABEK has used Alliances, in the first years we worked with private company of the hotel and families, added to the local guides, then it starts with Costa Rica birding hotspots, giving us many benefits for the hotel visitation, with time the project arrived to an important point so it was considered to give more strength to the project from the scientific area and from there is born the alliance with Costa Rica Wildlife, together with them the project is developed and organized so that it continues to be an example that can be duplicated in different areas of the country. In addition to this, we have new challenges and new horizons. In the next 5 years we hope to be an example project replicable in the world and that is sustainable, with transparent information so that each family has conservation stamps and that can live and coexist with nature, leading companies that use nature as brand and return to nature for conservation.