The land that was purchased by our ‘sister’ organisation, the Fundacion Fauna de la Amazonia, is close to the Llanganates National Park in Pastaza Region, Ecuador. It consists largely of primary/secondary rainforest, although about six hectares had previously been used for ‘pasto’ – that is grazing for cattle. In Ecuador, as with many other South American countries, there has been a tendency to grow a very tall and fast-growing, invasive, African grass for cattle-feeding purposes. This is often known as part of the ‘Africanisation’ of a country.
In order to combat this growth and spread we have been uprooting grass as we can, and planting endemic trees, and also clearing around those trees which have reseeded and are trying to break through to the sun (and rain) above! We are planting those trees which we hope will provide a source of food and shelter for recovering wildlife that we will be supporting in the future, as well as for those living there already.
As everything grows so fast in this part of the world, we are already seeing the ‘fruits’ of our labours, and the land is beginning to recover, fortunately before the remains of the topsoil is washed away.
It is on the this previously damaged area that we will begin the development of the Wildlife Conservation Centre and we are beginning to design and plan the first constructions and identify appropriate areas for the location of potential enclosures for recovering wildlife.
Also, we have been studying the local flora and fauna so that we have a clear knowledge and understanding of what actually lives in the area so that we are not introducing non-endemic species in the future. Well over 100 species of birds have been identified on the land so far, some of which are living there permanently, others are migrant. A huge range of plants are listed (for further information do have a look here… www.amazoniarescue.org ), also frogs and other amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
If our ‘sources’ are correct there are still Andean spectacled bears, jaguars, and other large and small mammals living in the area. A jaguarundi and several armadilloes have been seen close by, and there are photographs taken recently of a wild puma about ten kilometres away from the site. There is also a group of tamarin monkeys regularly crossing the land and helping themselves (as they rightly should) to fruit from the trees. At night, we have heard several species of owl and many strange rustlings in the undergrowth. Thanks to a donation, we have some infra-red camera traps on the way – so it is hoped that in the future we will be able to identify more of these mysterious, elusive animals.
As a result of buying this land, we have helped to save it from further destruction (those trees remaining would have been felled and cut up and burnt to provide more pasto if we hadn’t) and are gradually reforesting parts of it. Our long-term plans include purchasing more land around to save that too.