March 2013

After some months of separation, the core team of volunteers are reforming to take forward the development work on the land of the new Wildlife Conservation Centre at Colonia 24 de Mayo near Mera, Pastaza, Ecuador.

It has been quite amazing to see how much the land has changed since last seen – aided recently by the ‘golden stallion’ (slight exaggeration!) on loan from our friends at the Merazonia Rescue Centre, much of the unwanted grass has been eaten, thus enabling more regrowth by seedlings and saplings from the nearby jungle areas. The jungle itself is beginning to extend back into the ‘pasto’ area creating a much healthier picture of how the land should be. The views outwards are changing, and as the trees grow the area becomes more enclosed. Some of the seeds and small saplings planted a while back have survived, others have disappeared (as is the way here) – eaten by small scavengers and other wildlife including the omnipresent leafcutter ants!

It is currently the ‘rainy season’ which means it rains at least once every day – and when it rains many centimetres may fall at once – everyone and everything takes shelter where they can! As the land changes, so does the wildlife seen. Partly due to the season, and partly due to the regrowth, some of the smaller birds are not being seen as much. There has been some amazing structural development, as well as planting and regrowth, on the neighbouring reforestation project land which has also led to increasing changes in the local biodiversity. More species of frogs, toads, lizards and snakes have been seen (and in the case of the frogs – heard!), as well as large, brightly coloured dragonflies and mayflies, the always amazing plethora of butterflies and other insects, and opposums and other ‘mysterious’ night adventurers have been encountered.

We are to be joined shortly by our first ‘new’ volunteer of the year, Jennie Burns, who is a biologist and wildlife photographer ( and was actually here with us about four years ago and has been supporting us since). She plans to assist by recording pictorially what wildlife is encountered in the (too) short period she is with us and hopefully add to our website information.

White Hawks 1

Glen, meantime, has been yet again assisting in a wildlife rescue………… He encountered recently some members of the Environmental Police with an adult oso perezoso (sloth to you and me –three­toed) which had been retrieved as it was illegally held by some local people. He brought the police to our land with the sloth and he was permitted to release the animal in the jungle on an appropriate large tree. We hope to be able to provide a photograph of the animal as it made good its ‘escape’ soon.

Otherwise, we are beginning to draw up plans for the water system to be installed as this is likely to be the first work of construction undertaken. The ‘bodega’ (store) which has been our shared base for the last two or three years remains structurally sound and fairly ‘comfortable’ so will continue to be our land­based ‘control­centre’ for the time being.

On a different note: Should anyone know of anyone travelling from anywhere close to San Francisco, USA to Ecuador in the near future please let us know. We have been awarded a trap camera, a laptop computer and some audio equipment by Wild Futures. They are not permitted to be sent by post and so we are looking for someone with any spare space to bring them over.