Mashpi Lodge - New Opening Date & Science Work
Read The New York Times article about Mashpi here
All good things come to those who wait, and, in the case of Mashpi Lodge, we're sorry to inform you that the wait will be longer than expected. But it will be worth it!
Due to unexpectedly bad weather conditions in the Mashpi Rainforest Reserve over the last months, construction has fallen behind schedule and we regret to inform you that we must postpone our opening date until 15th April 2012.
An integral part of the 22-suite Mashpi Lodge project - where guests will be able to enjoy Jacuzzis, massages, a terrace with magnificent views and a dining room with outstanding cuisine - is to further the understanding of its impressively-biodiverse ecosystem. It is thought that the Reserve alone is home to some 500 species of birds, far more than the combined total in North America and Europe. There are also hundreds of species of amphibians, reptiles and tens of thousands of insect species in the reserve.
The Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve is part of the biodiversity hotspot known as the Chocó, which stretches from Ecuador into Colombia. This area is globally-recognised as one of the dozen places on the planet with the highest concentration of plant and animal species. Due to its topography and microclimate, the Mashpi reserve is truly mega-diverse: a different micro-habitat exists every 100 metres (328 feet)!
Of course, actually seeing creatures in the forest is extremely difficult, but the design of the trails, night-walks in the forest and the 'canopy gondola' aerial tram are aimed at providing the best possible opportunities for spotting wildlife. Here's a run-down of the scientific and visitor work carried out to date:
The project hired a resident biologist in 2010, who controls six expert volunteers working on projects within the Reserve.
We have completed a survey of the zones with open access to guests (GPS mapping and preliminary inventory of species).
Butterfly studies: with the help of a local expert we have already identified 12 new species in the reserve along with over 200 catalogued species.
Three bird 'leks' have been identified, belonging to the following species: Cock of the Rock, Umbrellabird, Club-winged Manakin. One has a trail access that is being used frequently and monitored extensively.
280 bird species have been spotted so far.
We have begun the study, inventory and classification of herpetofauna (frogs/reptiles).
We have identified and collected more than 180 classes of orchids, which are all now labelled and catalogued in pots.
We have begun the GPS mapping and inventory of the Scientific Use Zone.
We have implemented a monitoring/classification database of all existing species.
Camera traps have been installed to capture larger animals' whereabouts and behaviour.
This work complements the existing studies held by the Quito Museum of Natural History, The Botanical Garden Institute and the studies of an independent zoologist, currently working on the Ecuadorian Species catalogue.
Mashpi's commitment to its community, to conservation and to science grows with each week as the Lodge's opening date approaches. We look forward to welcoming our partners into its green embrace from 15th April 2012