Women for Conservation supports Ninfa Estella Carianil in her groundbreaking role as the first woman to work as a reserve ranger for Fundación ProAves!
Ninfa’s life changed abruptly with the loss of her son, and then later her husband, José Rufino Mora, in April 2020. Their family lived together in the Águila Harpía ProAves Reserve in eastern Colombia, accessible by speedboat along the Guaviare River, about eight hours away from the town of Mapiripán in the municipality of Puerto Inírida. In this remote landscape, Ninfa supported José in his work as Reserve ranger and forest protector for eight years.
She learned with him the characteristics of the Águila Harpía’s land of savanna, gallery forest, and lush Amazon rainforest. She traveled the waterways and got to know its species, including Endangered Giant River Otters and Amazon River Dolphins. Ninfa learned that 310 bird species are protected there, like the Harpy Eagle for which the Reserve was founded. She came to understand how the density and diversity of species made the region invaluable to science and learning, and an incredible experience for those who can visit. Ninfa became an expert in protecting biodiversity, and when José died unexpectedly, she was the natural choice to fill his shoes.
While this year has been difficult, Ninfa is grateful for the new role that brings long days of patrolling nearly 5,000 acres by land and water. But she is up to the challenge. “For me it is very gratifying to be able to work in conservation and in the care of birds. All my life I have been surrounded by nature and animals, but I never thought that I could become their protector,” Ninfa shared. “Every day, I work with great enthusiasm because I know that I am helping to preserve these beautiful landscapes and the animals that live here.”
“We are thrilled to support Ninfa’s work with ProAves as their first ever female forest ranger,” said Women for Conservation Founder and Executive Director, Sara Inés Lara. “The work of rangers has traditionally been dominated by men in protected areas across the globe. We feel it is vital that women play an active, recognized role in conservation fieldwork, and we seek to empower women to embrace forest protector roles.”
Above right image: The Harpy Eagle, Águila Harpía. Photo by Mdf.