I´m very happy to report that the past 10 days spent collecting butterflies and exploring the rainforest at Yarina Lodge have been nothing less than amazing. This place is much more remote than my previous site, Jatun Sacha, and this is evidenced by an abundance of wildlife and even more impressive diversity of butterflies. So far, I´ve collected over 650 specimens of a large variety. No statistics yet, but I anticipate the species list will be impressive by the time I leave Yarina at the end of the month. In addition to loads of butterflies, I´ve also seen several types of monkeys, a tapir, capybara, agoutis, coatis, maccaws, snakes, frogs, caimen, and of course, tons of cool insects. I´ve even spotted my first-ever velvet worm (funny the things that impress entomologists??). There is even a rather bothersome parrot that comes to investigate all my colorful equipment when I return from the forest in the evening. When that´s the biggest complaint, I guess things are pretty good.
|This guy finds the pink strings I use to hoist my traps into the canopy irresistible!|
As for the lodge itself, the setting is great. It is situated atop a hill overlooking a small tributary of the Rio Napo, and consists of a group of about 20 or so immaculate thatched cabinas. As opposed to Jatun Sacha, there is no road access, and this is surely a contributor to the diversity of wildlife and overall health of the forest ecosystem. However, it should be noted that the Amazon in Ecuador is often seen as a frontier, and there are plenty of folks lined up to tame it. FOPECA, one of the oil companies here, is building a massive bridge across the Napo, and roads are constantly being debated. How long before a road opens up this forest to oil, settlers, and development? For now at least, this is just a distant thought here at Yarina. At any rate, I am very grateful that the folks of Yarina have graciously agreed to have me here. You may take my description of the place as a resounding endorsement!
|The main hut at Yarina.|