January 2013

Glen, the long-term volunteer on-site, is continuing to look after the group of rescued turtles (that includes some land tortoises) being maintained and rehabilitated close by the Fundacion Fauna de la Amazonia’s land. Their shells are beginning to recover from the infections caught whilst in captivity and their general health is better than before due to the improved diet they are receiving – including small fish from our very own river!

New species of animals continue to be seen on the land all the time. Well over 100 different species of birds have been spotted now – including Hummingbirds, Hawks, Parrots and Parakeets, Trogons, Toucans amongst many others. There is a relatively up-to-date list on the Fundacion’s website (http://amazoniarescue.org/en/research.php ). Occasionally seen, although more often heard, are several species of Owl. Many of the birds are regularly seen and it is not unusual, for example, to be able to watch (with the aid of binoculars) Woodpeckers creating an entry hole into some high palms, building their nest within and hatch and rear offspring. Some of the bird species seen are migratory species – for example the beautifully coloured Summer Tanager. There is a total of 1663 bird species recorded in Ecuador. In comparison, there are around 259 species seen in the UK and that number includes many that are rare visitors!

Amongst the small fish in the river, we have also spotted freshwater prawns, and ambling close-by, we have seen land crabs – very similar in look to the Common Shore Crab although several hundred kilometres from the sea!

There are hundreds of beautiful butterfly species around. Here is a photograph of just one……

butterfly jan

At the side of the Fundacion’s land, our neighbour, Amazonia Simbiosis, is creating an experimental farm project – reforestation, permaculture and agroforestry and Glen is helping out on the initial development phase. This project is an ideal neighbour for us to have as by working towards reforestation in the area, further conservation and improvement in the surrounding environment which is a positive benefit for the wildlife.

Just recently, we have heard the sounds of chopping further into our land, late at night. It has been discovered that poachers have been tapping some of our trees for the resin contained within.

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The ‘Sangre de Drago’ (Dragon’s Blood) is a species of Croton (Croton lechleri). The blood-red colored resin (see picture) is therapeutically beneficial and has been used by people for centuries to heal various disorders . In the future, we hope to encourage the local communities to cultivate the tree (it is relatively fast growing) to market its produce in order to create micro-business opportunities for them, as this product is growing in popularity for its multitude of therapeutic uses. It is hoped that this will provide an alternative to further deforestation and other forms of environmental destruction.

Meantime, a team of architects is being consulted and instructed in creating the design for our first buildings on the land and we are beginning negotiations with Paul Malo Pozo who is an expert in the growing of, and construction with, species of bamboo which we plan to build with.