How Your Money Protects Rainforests in Ecuador

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Spectacled Bear camera trap shot

The thrill of seeing what a trap camera will capture is really quite something. I remember when we travelled to the Amazon with our two kids, our guides very patiently helped us set up a few camera traps on some of the trails near the lodge we were staying (Sani Lodge which is a wonderful community run lodge in Yasuni National Park).

I can still remember the thrill of going back the following day to see what had been captured on camera. We managed to get some shots of a tapir mother and her calf which was so wonderful, thinking that we had been walking on those trails just hours before!  I experienced a similar moment of delight this week at seeing the amazing wildlife that has been caught on camera traps in the Neblina reserve, an area that Think Galapagos have helped support with donations in recent years. The images came through on email and took me right back to that feeling of pure delight. Here are some of them!

Spectacled Bear camera trap image

Rainforest Concern – Our Charity Partner

As many of you will know, Rainforest Concern, is one of our favourite charities and do some amazing work protecting areas of  cloud forest in Ecuador, such as the Neblina Reserve in north west Ecuador.

Although located in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, sadly, the Neblina Reserve is also situated in a region under threat of deforestation from agriculture and large-scale extractive industries. Our work at the Neblina Reserve aims to help protect this vulnerable area, making a critical contribution to the Chocó-Andean corridor project’s southern phase, at an ecological corridor between two larger protected areas.

How Our Donations Have Helped Protect Rainforest

For each guest that books with us we give an option of selecting from a number of charities that we donate to on our guests behalf.  This week we made our most recent donation and here is what Rainforest Concern wrote to us and our guests in response.

“Your donation will sponsor and protect over 6.5 acres of Ecuadorian rainforest – this is over 3 football pitches! This will help us keep preserving and protecting the Neblina Reserve and its vicinity. We’re very excited that last year’s camera trap data revealed the presence of 23 different mammal species, not including bats etc.

We also identified at least 17 spectacled bear individuals giving evidence that the reserve is providing essential habitat for threatened species. In December 2021, our forest guards discovered a black-and-chestnut eagle nest with two adults and a juvenile. The endangered black-and-chestnut eagle is one of the largest, and least studied raptors of Latin America.

black-and-chestnut eagle - Murray Cooper

These magnificent birds of prey are extremely rare, with as few as 250 adults estimated to be remaining. We’ve been awarded funding by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species to conduct a two-year research project into these eagles, which is now well underway.

We will be able to contribute essential research data to the Ecuadorian government to help form the first national protection plan for the species. We’ll also work with local communities and put in place protection strategies to help the eagles thrive in the reserve and surrounding area. I’ve send some images via WeTransfer of the black-and-chestnut eagle, as well as some of our latest camera trap images which I hope you’ll like – please feel free to use these on your social media or blog!

Thank you once more for your support and that of your customers. Your support is directly helping us to create and protect a viable habitat for many threatened species as well as the people who depend on the rainforest for survival.

If you would like to support Rainforest Concern yourself, see how you can get involved.


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