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Cocobolo Nature Reserve covers over 1000 acres of primary and secondary lowland rainforest and harbors endangered wildlife such as ocelots, margays, crested curassows and harlequin frogs to name but a few. Within the reserve are important headwaters of the Mamoni River.
The reserve was bought by Founder Michael Roy, in 2005 in order to save it from destruction by cattle ranchers. Indeed 125 acres had been sold and cut and burned before the purchase could be finalized. In 2008 through a grant by the World Conservation Union, CREA was able to purchase this 125 acres too. The entire area is now protected by CREA and its reserve staff.
In 2006 CREA built a number of installations on the reserve including guest huts, a large teaching and meeting area 2 fully equipped bathrooms with showers and toilets and a fully functioning kitchen. At the beginning of 2007 solar panels were installed in order to bring light and power to the buildings.
The reserve is located at the narrowest stretch of Mesoamerica with only 40 miles separating the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, and thus represents a vital yet fragile piece of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, an ambitious project that aims to preserve a network of conservation regions extending from Mexico to Colombia.
The reserve, beyond acting as an important area the for conservation of local wildlife also acts as an education center. School groups and local communities participate in educational activities throughout the year. In one area of the reserve CREA has set up an agricultural demonstration farm that shows ways in which agriculture can comply with local ecological systems. The purpose of Cocobolo Nature Reserve is to primarily protect habitat for biodiversity while aiding local communities to develop local solutions for specific agricultural practices that increase wildlife habitat, food production and protect remaining forests simultaneously.
Since 2005 CREA has sought to protect other privately owned forests within the Bayano Watershed, in which Cocobolo is found. Up to date CREA now protects over 5000 acres of privately owned Tropical Forest as part of its own protected area network. CREA is now using this protected areas as nuclei from which it designs and implements community development strategies that provide greater stewardship of these protected areas through community understanding and development.