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Documentary - Nature Conservation and Conservation Photography in the Rainforest

The Last Sanctuary is a documentary film about the Tesoro Escondido Reserve and the conservation of the almost extinct Brown Headed Spider Monkey.

In 2018 conservation and nature photographer Jonas Paurell and filmmaker Jonathan Boothby embarked on an expedition into the heart of one of the last remaining areas of the Chocó rainforest in Ecuador – the Tesoro Escondido Reserve.

There they met Dr. Citlalli Morelos-Juárez a Mexican biologist, primatologist and conservationist, and Yadira Giler together they had founded the reserve, and works to protect the forests and its natural inhabitants.

The Tesoro Escondido Reserve is one of the last remaining areas of primary rainforest in the Ecuadorian Chocó, which has largely been cleared for monocrop agriculture. It is home to the critically endangered Brown-Headed Spider Monkey, one of the top 25 most endangered primates in the world (source: IUCN Red List).

The expedition parameters were simple, to support a recently established conservation area by documenting the Brown-Headed Spider Monkey and its rapidly shrinking natural habitat. Today, five years later, the Brown-Headed Spider Monkey and its habitat in the Ecuadorian Chocó is under increased threat by anthropogenic activities such as timber extraction and monocrops. The conservation team led by Dr. Citlalli Morelos-Juárez and Mrs. Giler is working for the Tesoro Escondido Reserve to be recognized within the Ecuadorian National System of Protected Areas to be able to protect it in perpetuity.

To ensure the long-term protection of the area, it is crucial to increase local, national and international awareness about the reserve and its mission. This documentary film forms a part in those efforts.

The documentary film is a mix between a nature documentary and a behind the scenes documentary mixing the two to tell a story in an engaging way.

Would you like to know more about the Tesoro Escondido Reserve The Tesoro Escondido Reserve protects over 2000 hectares of primary forest in the Chocó lowlands, a global biodiversity hotspot. This area in the province Esmeraldas is highly threatened by anthropogenic activities such as timber extraction, monocrops and mining concessions.


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