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Press

July 19, 2000

ECOLOGYFUND.COM ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH PRONATURA and the WILDLANDS PROJECT TO PROTECT ENDANGERED MEXICAN WILDLIFE

Ann Arbor, MI - Pronatura, Mexico's largest conservation group, and The Wildlands Project based in Arizona, have announced their official partnership with EcologyFund.com (www.EcologyFund.com), a click-to-donate wilderness Web site that has preserved over 1,460 acres in five months. It costs nothing for site visitors to donate 292 square feet of endangered wild land per day. Pronatura (www.pronatura.org.mx) and The Wildlands Project (www.twp.org) join the Rainforest Trust in the U.K., the Wilderness Land Trust in the U.S., and the Nature Conservancy of Canada as official partners of EcologyFund. Through EcologyFund.com, people from around the world can make a free donation to save land in the U.S., the Amazon Basin rainforest, Patagonia, Canada, and now Mexico. The new project will protect some of Mexico's most endangered species by conserving imperiled habitats.

"By partnering with EcologyFund, we are able to inform a much larger audience about the uniqueness of our cause and the urgency of the help needed," says Dr. Ernesto C. Enkerlin Hoeflich, Director of Pronatura. Leanne Klyza Linck, Executive Director of The Wildlands Project, sees EcologyFund as another tool for achieving its objective to "serve as a catalyst for the establishment of a connected system of wildlands which would join Mexican landscapes to the U.S. Southwest." The project titled "Protect Endangered Mexican Wildlife" on the EcologyFund Web site, encompasses two diverse conservation efforts: rare habitat in the Cuatro Cienegas Valley, and 6,000 acres of Sierra Madre forest called Cebadillas de Yaguirachic.

75% of the Mexican project donations will purchase land in Cuatro Cienegas Basin.
Mexico is one of the five most biologically diverse countries on Earth, home to 1/10 of all land species, many of which live nowhere else on the planet. EcologyFund will help Pronatura purchase 8,000 acres in the Cuatro Cienegas Valley in Northern Mexico, home to over 100 endemic animal and plant species including numerous species of fish, turtles, snails and cacti. Unique habitats further distinguish the area including tufa deposits, gypsum dunes, thermal and non-thermal springs, crystalline spring fed streams, marshes and cenotes (sink holes).

The Pozas Azules ("blue wells"), located in the Cuatro Cienegas Valley, are an extensive series of cenotes, or small desert springs, that formed in gypsum deposits. Within these sink holes, ground water rises to within 3-6 feet of the surface. The color of the pools varies from black to white, with the deepest ones (around 40 feet) appearing milky-blue, giving the area its name. These small ponds contain many unique species like the Cuatro Cienegas pupfish and cichlid, as well as living stromatolites. Fossil marine stromatolites provide the first evidence of life on Earth.

Groups join forces to save Mexican Thick-billed parrot habitat.
The second effort of the EcologyFund Mexican project will preserve the nesting areas of the largest breeding population of the Mexican Thick-billed parrot. There are as few as 2,000 breeding pairs of this species of parrot left in the wild. This project will save about 200 of those rare nests. This effort is the joint work of Pronatura and The Wildlands Project, as well as three other conservation groups. The groups will implement an arrangement for 6,000 acres of land, called the Cebadillas de Yaguirachic, to be saved from logging over the next 15 years. During that time, the logging income will be replaced with eco-tourism related to the parrots and the magnificent old growth forest. The goal is to permanently save the species from extinction and allow for their reintroduction to the American Southwest.

Founded in 1981, Pronatura is a non-profit, Mexican civil organization whose mission is to protect and conserve Mexico's biodiversity. Pronatura collaborates with local communities, government agencies and other national and international organizations. The Wildlands Project, based in Tuscon, Arizona, is a non-profit group of conservation biologists and citizen conservation activists devoted to developing a North American Wilderness Recovery Strategy, which will recover whole ecosystems in every region of North America.

Since its launch in February, EcologyFund.com has saved over 1,460 acres of wilderness land. All land is added to nature reserves or parks and paid for by site sponsors including Novica, iPrint, Zeal, CoolSavings.com, CharityMall, the Environmental News Network, and Working Assets.

EcologyFund.com founder Tim Kunin is available for interviews: Kunin@EcologyFund.com or 781-461-6161.

PRESS CONTACT:
Jessica Frost, Publicity Director
CharityMall.com/EcologyFund.com
216 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
ph: 734-213.7777
fx: 734-913-5555
jfrost@charitymall.com



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