Jose DeCoux. Image credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Johnny Magdaleno

LOS CEDROS, ECUADOR — The founder and manager of Reserva Los Cedros, José DeCoux, announced this week that he has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma cancer. He is receiving treatment at a private hospital in Quito. DeCoux indicated that he will not be stepping back from any of his duties as manager of Reserva Los Cedros, saying “it takes more than a little cancer to slow me down.”

Los Cedros is currently at the center of a legal battle over the legality of mining within the class of protected forests known as bosques protectores. DeCoux, along with a legal team including Edgar Merlo and Nati Greene, has helped elevate the case to the Constitutional Court, which will be hearing the case specifically to set precedent around the application of Ecuador’s constitutionally-guaranteed Rights of Nature within bosques protectores. DeCoux says that he does not expect his health to have any impact on the case whatsoever.

With eco-tourism at an all-time low due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, friends and family have begun a grassroots fundraising effort to support DeCoux’s treatment and care during his recovery. Donations can be made here.