Animals of the Rainforest, Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center
One of the best things about visiting the Jungles of Ecuador are the animals, unfortunately unless you are deep in the amazon rainforest, camping overnight or doing an week long expedition you cannot see a huge variety of animals and birds in the wild, you may see schools of monkeys jumping from tree to tree in the area of Huasquilas protected rainforest , lots of birds, insects and tons of bats.
One of the places to see animals of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest near Huasquila Amazon Lodge is Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center.
The Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center is a great place to visit even with small children. To get there, you can take a taxi from Huasquila or you can drive to Ahuano, which takes approximately 40 minutes from the Lodge, and take a motorized canoe from Puerto Barantilla.
The canoe has a captain, who ensures everyone has a life jacket, even small children, it has a canopy to protect you from the sun, and row of seats for about 12 passengers, they are long and thin and are motorized. Don’t be surprised when the captain stops the motor to slide through the rapids of the river. The trip if you are foreigner will cost $20 round trip, but check with the lodge before you go. The canoe will wait for you until you end your tour.
On arrival, a guide will greet you and welcome you to Amazoonico and will explain how they volunteer at the place and how all the animals in the center are rescues who have been removed from their natural habitat by traffickers, who have been kept in terrible conditions and are lucky enough to be brought by authorities, or locals from the area. The place only survives on donations and visits from tourists.
Its costs $4 for adults and $3 for children, kids under four are free. Amazoonico rehabilitates the animals and determines if they are fit to be released back in the wild. Many animals have been too close to human interaction and cannot survive without people. For example, they have 3 beautiful blue eyed toucans, who were kept as domestic animals. These birds are famous for the beaks, which they use to steal and crack open eggs from other birds, due to their illegal removal from the wild, these toucans never learned to use their beaks properly and would not be able to survive in the wild.
Along the trails the volunteer explains that the animals that we see mostly cannot be released, but that they a protected primary forest of 1600 hectares called Selva Viva where animals who can survive are released.
The volunteers do a great job at explaining the stories of each of the animals, to bring awareness to the illegal trafficking of wild animals in Ecuador, by locals and foreigners, and how there aren’t harsh penalties for removing an animal from the wild, just small fees to pay. They also work with the local communities encouraging them to stop their ancestor’s traditions on killing wild animals for consumption instead buying them from them at the sanctuary.
Among the animals that you can see in the Amazoonico Animal Rescue Center a huge Tapir named Carnival which you can see up close, a true gentle giant previously used in a local Circus, Capybaras, a beautiful Puma Jaguarondi who had been removed from a local politicians home, a spotted Tigrillo or small Leopard Cat, many Peccaries or wild pigs, which are brought to the center instead of being killed for their meat, many squirrel monkeys and spider monkeys, Guacamayos whos wings have been clipped, an anaconda whose teeth were removed and no longer can kill its own prey and a couple of Caymans, that were kept in the lobby of a hotel. Each one has a name and a story to tell.
This is a great place to visit with friends and family to bring awareness to the deforestation and animal trafficking problems, and to show how people are turning this around.
For more information on the Center, volunteer opportunities and most importantly donations you can visit their website at: http://www.amazoonicorescuecenter.com/
You can reserve your visit to Amazoonico at Huasquila Amazon Lodge.