The Chocó biogeographical region spans the length of Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. It encompasses the biodiversity hotspot known as the Tumbes-Chocó-Darién, which extends along the western edge of the Andes mountain range. It is considered of “high interest for the global conservation of biodiversity” and is also the first forest to be considered a “Model Forest” in Ecuador.
The Chocó forest is one of the most diverse forests in the Neotropical realm. It is estimated that tropical forests, which comprise just 6% of the world’s surface area, contain somewhere between one-half to three-quarters of the earth’s plant and animal species. Mashpi is home to a wide array of flora, from ferns and bromeliads to a plethora of orchids, many of which have just been recently discovered. Biologists from around the world have collaborated with our team of scientists to observe, study and understand these species.
The Mashpi Reserve’s staggering level of biodiversity is due to the combination of its tropical climate, the equatorial sun, high quantity of rainfall and different elevations. This unique blend of elements creates a world where species thrive in a million different ecological niches.
A staggering 400 species of birds – of which 36 are endemic (meaning they are found nowhere else in the world) – are estimated to inhabit the forests of Mashpi. Monkeys, peccaries and even pumas make their homes inside the Reserve’s dramatic, verdant hills which are dotted by majestic waterfalls. A myriad of invertebrates and amphibians inhabit this world. While you’d be lucky to catch a glimpse of many of these shy creatures, a network of camera traps allows to us to sneakily observe their movements in breathtaking proximity and clarity.