Well, this month the land has had some respite and has been mainly left to its own devices after many months of continuous human activity. It will be interesting to see whether this encourages more animals to leave traces and tracks across the reserve.
However, at the same time, it is concerning to note that a domestic dog has been regularly appearing on the land. It would seem to belong to one of the neighbours (although that could be anyone within a 10 kilometre radius!) as it appears relatively well-fed and ‘cared-for’. It has been blamed for the death and consumption of one of Glen’s ducks, and has definitely been stealing volunteers’ food! It is not yet possible to say the effect this animal may be having on the wildlife of the reserve and its surrounds, and some method for dealing with this animal will have to be found. We will probably try to capture it and remove it, if possible.
It has also been noticed that some saplings on the margin of the forest have been cut down, and we cannot see any valid reason for this at all, nor any evidence of who has done this, strange behaviour.
New plant, animal and fungi species are observed constantly including two Ferruginous Pygmy Owls which were recently spotted, at dusk, close by, and a ‘new’ species of hummingbird noted although not yet identified.
Unfortunately, farther along the main access road and close to the land, there has been some recent ‘development’ – trees close to the road have been cut down and an intensive chicken farm constructed in their place.
So, we are in the process of planning and developing the next stages of work on the land which will include finishing the construction of the quarantine/clinic, identifying and removing other non-native species of plants and animals and planting up more of the areas where there are non-native grasses, etc, beginning work on the accommodation areas, and much more…
Here is a brief summary of what we are about and what we have been doing and achieved over the last year or so.
The Fundacion is an Ecuadorian non-profit organisation (http://www.amazoniarescue.org) registered with the Ministerio del Ambiente that works for the protection of wildlife and wild areas in Ecuador. We are developing a new Wildlife Conservation Centre on our reserve in order to implement research and conservation, wild animal rescue, rehabilitation and release, community involvement and the development and establishment of educational programmes, as well as to increase the area of protected land.
The Fundacion is involved in rescuing animals and plants from the black market, national and international pet and research trade, as well as those threatened by continued human ‘development’ and environmental destruction. The new reserve is located on 37.5 hectares of mainly primary and older secondary rainforest in the buffer zone of the Llanganates National Park near Mera in Pastaza Region. This land is within the Llanganates Sangay Ecological Corridor (CELLS), an area granted special recognition as a “Gift to the Earth” by the World Wildlife Fund in 2002 for its mega-diversity and importance to world ecology.
The land in Ecuador is now fully paid for and work has commenced on constructing the quarantine/clinic – the basic structure is now in place. Costs have soared due to the location (we are quite remote!). However, through continued fundraising activities by our supporters in the UK and throughout the world, enough has now been raised to continue the work. This should recommence in September of this year. When we have enough funds, accommodation areas are planned to be built and furnished for six to eight people – volunteers/staff, scientists, students – and will be built using sustainable materials as far as is practicably possible. It is also planned to use solar panels as a suitable resource for future sustainable energy production.
We have also constructed the main low maintenance pathway system to the accommodation areas, the stream and water supply system. This does make such a difference!
We now have an adequate water supply (and a shower!) for the new Centre’s current and estimated future needs using the river source we have on the land. We also plan to develop ecological facilities for hygiene purposes and other relevant services.
The Wildlife Conservation Centre will contribute directly to an increase in land protection and biodiversity, including attracting further land purchase for conservation. Through our involvement in the area, we have so far encouraged an additional, neighbouring 70 hectares to be purchased for reforestation and conservation by concerned individuals, with more interest currently being indicated by other, similarly highly motivated supporters to develop a permaculture-based farm close by.
The Centre plans to develop rehabilitation and release programmes for rescued animals such that they may be released into appropriate safe environments and intends to work with local community members – not only directly involving them in the work of the Centre, but also supporting them to develop new enterprises eg growing endemic, fast-growing bamboo for construction purposes.
Our aim is toprotect our reserve and the plants and animals within and around it – conserve, restore and hopefully extend it, and to enhance the environment and surrounding areas for the future.
As Margaret Mead (1901-1978), who was an American cultural anthropologist, said “”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”