Valle del Cauca, Colombia

Valle de Cauca, Colombia Photo
©B Martínez-Quintero

The Andean valley of the Cauca River, also known as the Eje Cafetero (coffee growing region), boasts the country’s most fertile lands, which are under pressure from a growing human population. The valley, located in the southwestern part of the country, lies between two mountain ranges. The numerous streams that traverse it empty into the Cauca River. Among the threatened species found here are the Andean bear, Cauca guan—a large, fruit-eating bird, and mountain tapir.

Fast Facts

  • This montane forest region contains more than 500 species of birds, nearly 100 species of frogs (60 of which are endemic), 120 kinds of mammals, and 200 types of butterflies.
  • A family of palms living in this landscape includes a species that is the tallest palm in the world, reaching more than 196 feet in height.


Much of the forest that lies at lower elevations has been fragmented by the timber industry and cut for farms and plantations, primarily to grow sugar, cotton, and coffee.

WCS Responds

WCS is surveying wildlife populations in this region, particularly Andean bears and Cauca guans. The guan was believed to be extinct until small populations were rediscovered in the 1980s. We are also helping to train professional conservationists and local communities in the sustainable use of natural resources.

From the Newsroom

Rare Brown-Spider Monkey Hangs on in ColombiaJanuary 26, 2012

A discovery of brown-spider monkeys in Parque Nacional Natural Selva de Florencia offers the critically endangered species a second chance.

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