December 2014

Saludos!  And greetings from the ever-changing ‘season’ in Pastaza, Ecuador! More rain, more or less the same heat, more humidity! The plants keep growing……………….

View from the Bodega

View from the Bodega

Progress continues on the quarantine/clinic building: the walls are finished, the window and door frames prepared for the fitting of, the final touches to preparing the edge of the roof area underway and work starting to ready the floors for tiling.  Also, the animal holding cages are ready for tiling, as are the large sinks which are ready to be plumbed for a cold water supply until we have constant site presence and the greater need for hot water. Power supply is likely to be gas for this although the prospects for solar energy are looking increasingly more promising as the prices for solar panels continue to fall and there is increasing availability of stocks locally as well as for the energy storage equipment. The roof space should be an excellent location for the panels and ingress for cables are already in place.

It was great to have Craig Garcia visit and spend some time on and around the land this month. He works for an organisation, Love One Love All, which provides cross-cultural and multi-focussed service based study abroad and gap year opportunities for students around the world.  His organisation, which is based in the US, concentrates on providing services to the countries that they travel to, in addition to the students completing their studies. The projects operated and maintained by Fauna de la Amazonia are of interest and were being investigated as a possible addition to their programme. He was with us during the early part of the month, enthusiastically participated in some activities on site, whilst checking over our practices, and also visited some other agencies we are linked with to check out possible joint-working opportunities. We look forward to seeing if there may be some ways for us to work together in the future.

Bromeliad flower

Bromeliad flower

It was also great to welcome back Gemma Love, who visited with Alejandro Castillo, in the middle of the month. Gemma, along with (Volcanic) Ash, was among our very first visitor/volunteers when we started work on the land. She noticed many changes since then and was very positive and effusive regarding developments! Fantastic to see you back, Gemma! Y bien viaje! There were a few night walks into the edge of the jungle and they experienced many different sounds, smells and sights. This included searching out some of the many different frog species, the night-flowering bromeliads, and the night-scented orchids.

The pineapple plants continue to flourish, though the banana plants are still awaited for planting (both of these for human consumption).

A wild cacao tree was found whilst checking out, yet again, what it was our neighbours were cutting on, or very close to, our land. A fruit was taken and it is hoped that the seeds will germinate and enable us to grow more endemic and less common plants found on the land. This has again stressed the necessity of determining the exact boundaries between us and the ‘cutting neighbours’. It continues to be high on the agenda for close future action!

A Golden-crowned Tanager and an Inca Jay were also spotted this month which adds to the ever-increasing list of bird/animal species being found there. The toucans are heard almost every day at the moment, though less often seen! A flash vision of some kind of weasel was also seen of late.

Orendopola nests hanging from a tree.

Orendopola nests hanging from a tree.

Another interesting night-sight recently was the view of a leaf being eaten by a caterpillar whilst itself being attacked by a small species of flatworm, which was at the same time being attacked by a swarm of small ants. It’s not easy living in the jungle!

Storms have yet again been frequent…….. lightning strikes have been causing some damage and one strike came very close by whilst out walking!

Some links follow to some articles and issues that may be of interest, and are of relevance to what is happening both here in Ecuador, and on a wider scale throughout the world……………………..

·         Epic Chevron Battle Lands in Canadian Court Oil giant asks Canadian Supreme Court to rewrite laws in attempt to avoid seizure of assets by Ecuadorian rainforest communities…………..

http://amazonwatch.org/news/2014/1223-epic-chevron-battle-lands-in-canadian-court?utm_source=Amazon+Watch+Newsletter+and+Updates&utm_campaign=7ca3ee3c55-2014-12-23-eoa-cvx&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e6f929728b-7ca3ee3c55-340627521

·         Indigenous leader murdered before he could attend Climate Summit

http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1208-gfrn-hance-antun.html?n3ws1ttr

·         Without draconian measures, global population boom is ‘locked in’

http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1201-cesare-ucsc-population.html?n3ws1ttr

http://www.populationmatters.org/?gclid=CNfNpJrz88ICFfPm7AoduloAjQ

·         Initiative to restore 50M acres of degraded Latin American ecosystems by 2020

http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1207-initiative20x20.html?n3ws1ttr

All the very best for the coming times!