While thumbing through an old spiral notebook I came upon a few sentences I’d scribbled about the Napo Wildlife Center in Yasuni National Park, which lies in the heart of the Amazon of Ecuador.
Gary and I had met a couple from Florida in the Quito airport who raved about their 4 nights there–“the birding was exquisite. . . our naturalist guide uncannily called the birds to him. . . the food was great. We stayed in a gigantic thatched lodge with open sides and mosquito nets, impeccably run.”
I wanted to know more, thinking it would be a good subject for a Pro-Ecuador webpage. My research revealed that National Geographic devoted 40 pages of its January, 2013, 125th Anniversary edition to Ecuador’s wild places, highlighting Yasuni and the Napo Wildlife Center.
A kapok tree soars above the jungle landscape in Yasuni National Park. Photo by Steve Winter.
Yasuni has been called the most biodiverse area in the world.
Yasuni has over 600 varieties of trees, 600 kinds of birds and 10 species of monkeys, including red howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys and long-armed spider monkeys. There are jaguars, peccaries, deer, giant otters, flocks of stunning green and blue parakeets, anacondas, piranhas.
You’ll find the spectacular hoatzin, a plumed bird with rust, black and tan feathers that is so unusual scientists don’t know how to classify it. If you don’t know what a golden mantled tamarin or an Equatorial saki or a red titi is, have a look at the photographs featured in the article.
The haunting eyes of tiny night monkeys on the National Geographic anniversary cover say it all. Yasuni National Park is a treasure trove of living things unique to our planet, life that must be honored and preserved lest we risk the quality of our own lives through our neglect.
None of us can afford to turn our backs on the economic and environmental dramas being played out in Yasuni and elsewhere in Ecuador’s jungles. Warring tribes, a vulnerable ecosystem, a government that needs money and the temptation of untold wealth that lies beneath the jungle canopies of Ecuador.
Is this the sequel to Avatar, playing out right before our eyes? Today it’s a riveting mystery. The outcome is uncertain.
Will Correa obey his own Constitutional mandate to treat Mother Earth as a living entity to be respected or will he allow foreign concessions to drill for oil and mine for gold and copper?
Photo is by Karla Gachet for National Geographic.
As responsible, caring human beings, we have it in our power to write an ending that is either a triumph or a tragedy.
Read the full National Geographic article.
Bo Derek, Avaaz and many others are speaking out about the devastation of the pristine areas of Ecuador. Join the discussion in any way you can. For more about the problem and the solution and how you can help, go to www.SOSyasuni.com.