Podocarpus National Park

The 360,000 acres of Podocarpus Park in Ecuador are a brilliant display of numerous ecological life zones, which merge to form a variety of unique habitats. It spans from mountainous páramo habitat at almost 12,000 feet elevation down to the southern Oriente at 3,300 feet, from tropical cloud forest where thick mist engulfs the landscape, down to virgin rainforests of the upper Amazon. The combination of topography and weather patterns has created habitats found nowhere else on earth, and so the number of unique species in the park is extraordinary.

Podocarpus Tree with guide Angel Ocampo

One is the Podocarpus tree, and another is the Spectacled Bear, a shy endangered animal and the only bear found in South America. Other creatures within the park include the Solitary Puma, Mountain Tapirs and the Andean Fox, as well as 800 species of birds– and many many plant species which have yet yet to be catalogued!

 

 

 

 

Ancient Helecho

 

The park was created to protect the region’s biological diversity, endemic species and the only large expanse of undisturbed forest in southern Ecuador. But since it lacks funding for appropriate protection, it is ironically one of the areas in the country most threatened by illegal colonization, hunting and mineral concessions.

This Thanksgiving Eve,  I am so grateful on to be able to travel to such magical places on our planet.  Wishing one and all  an abundance of safety, food and clean water, and much love.

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