|RIP Gonzalo Cardona|
In February 2020 Carla and I went to the ProAves 'Loro Andino' or Andean Parrot reserve. The lodge is surrounded by beautiful Andean forest, but much of it is not owned by ProAves, and will surely one day be converted to cow pasture. It was the day that ProAves shut down the reserve, because there were no funds to pay for staff.
Gonzalo Cardona was the caretaker of the lodge, and was also in charge of the Yellow-eared Parrot conservation project. He had worked for ProAves for over two decades. The parrots live near the giant and old wax palms, most of which are below the reserve, closer to the town of Roncesvalles. The population of parrots had increased from 80 parrots in 1998 to around 1200 in the last census.
Gonzalo spent an afternoon with us at the Yellow-eared Parrot roosting site, patiently waiting while I took photographs. The next day he opened up the Loro Andino reserve and stayed with us there for one night. Which he didn't have to do.
I don't know if Gonzalo was murdered because of his conservation work. In Colombia it is certainly the first assumption. He is survived by his wife and daughter, and I know he will be missed by many people and many birds.