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A Wild Life at Las Tangaras

February 18, 2014

50 hectares isn’t considered very large by global conservation standards. To put it in relative terms, its only about 112 football fields (give or take) or 14.6%  of the size of Central Park in New York. But it is important when it comes to conservation to not confuse quantity with quality. The biodiversity that we have observed on Las Tangaras in the 2 short weeks we have been here has been astounding, and proves that this area is an important piece of the Ecuadorian and, ultimately, global conservation effort. To date we have observed more than 35 species of bird, 7 species of mammal, 5 reptile and 6 amphibian… and they are just the ones we have been able to confidently identify (the number of amphibians will increase significantly one I retrieve a recording database of their calls from Quito next week).

Among these encounters there have been a number of particularly notable ones including potentially one Critically Endangered primate (The Ecuadorian White Fronted Capuchin – Cebus albifrons aequatorialis), one Endangered frog, a few vulnerable/near threatened frogs and reptiles and a number of regionally iconic species.

The reason I say “potentially” in reference to the Capuchin is the fact that Cebus albifrons aequatorialis is a sub-species of Cebus albifrons, a species that we are very familiar with and that is common throughout parts of South and Central America. The Capuchins that we observed moving through the property looked allot different from those that we have seen in the past and got us digging. Based on our online research into their appearance and distribution (limited to the west of the Andes mountain range) we are tentatively confident that these monkeys are in fact the  Critically Endangered aequatorialis sub-species.

So after getting a little off track with my excitement about the Capuchin thing (a species we have not yet got photos of), let me now share a few of our favourite photos from those that we have taken of the wildlife of Las Tangaras to date:

Pinocio Rain Frog

Pinocchio Rain Frog (Pristimantis appendiculatus)

This juvenile was heard making a single call from his perch in a clump of moss about 1.3 metres above the ground. Although locally common, this species is relatively cryptic and was a good find. He is listed as Near Threatened due to his relatively small distribution.

Broad Billed Motmot

Broadbilled Motmot (Electron platyrhynchum)

Although this guy was recently shared by the previous managers, we think he is a spectacular bird and couldn’t help showing him off again. This photo was once again taken from the front porch of the lodge.

Variable Coffee Snake

Variable Coffee Snake (Ninia atrata)

Sleeping beneath a tarp in the orchid was where I disturbed this small and somewhat docile snake. Although he lacked the full whitish nuchal collar, a feature that is a usual identifier but may be variably present, I was able to identify him via his keeled dorsal scales (19 at mid body) and split prefrontal scales.  This snake is Near Threatened due to a limited distribution and the vast deforestation of available habitat within it.

Spring Rain Frog

Spring Rain Frog (Pristimantis crenunguis)

Firstly, let me apologise for the poor camera work here. The cloud forest is a hard place to operate when its overcast but due to the significance of this species we thought we would still like to share. I came across this juvenile while walking up to the Andean Cock of the Rock Lek. I was able to identify him (after a painstaking amount of assessment using a microscope) based on his heavily vermiculated iris and marbled underbelly. He is of significance due to his listing as Endangered. Listed as such due to the fact that he limited to an area of only 4,794 km2 across an elevation gradient of 366 m.

As you can see we are excitedly discovering all of the hidden wildlife wonders of Las Tangaras. This is just a small taste of what we have encountered to date but stay tuned for many more exciting discoveries including (we hope) some photos of the resident but rarely seen Capuchin monkeys.

Corey and Niki

Las Tangaras

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Tony Povilitis permalink
    February 19, 2014 4:36 pm

    Great work, guys!

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