What is Wildsumaco? Who are we?
There's a road in Ecuador that winds out of Quito, moving southeast across the Papallacta Pass, and over and through the Andes' beautiful eastern foothills. From this road a few hours out of Quito, the cone of a volcano can sometimes be seen rising to 3730 meters (12,250 feet) through the misty distance of the east. It is called Sumaco.
Sumaco Volcano pushes above the tree line,and is topped by low, sparse vegetation that descends into lush subtropical rainforest.
The area around and below Sumaco's heights is so remote and difficult to access that to this day it remains virtually unexplored, unmapped, a mystery.
Recognizing its significance, Ecuador declared Sumaco Volcano and the area around it a national park.
When the road we now refer to as the Loreto Road was cut in 1987, the area was opened up to settlement, and today much of the area along the road has been cleared of forest and burned, the land turned into farms or pastures. Many of the birds and animals living there tend to move on, fail to reproduce, or die out.
These changes are happening rapidly, but we of Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary S.A., a small, private company dedicated to conservation, are determined to save and preserve a sustainable piece of this fine rainforest and its wildlife before it disappears forever. We believe that we have found the perfect formula.
The general region of Sumaco encompasses a wide range of elevations, and is bird-rich. Many of the species found here are rare, endangered or very difficult to see elsewhere.
Until now, there has been no comfortable lodging convenient to this superb destination.
We have changed that.
As a significant part of our conservation effort, Wildsumaco Lodge was built on a ridge that was cleared of forest some years ago by previous owners. The view from our deck is breath-taking, and our trails and scenery, our flora and fauna, will delight everyone who enjoys experiencing nature first hand. Our birds, butterflies and moths provide endless opportunities for photographers.
Most of our visitors are birders, and Wildsumaco should provide them with a wonderful experience. As over 500 avian species have been recorded on our reserve and the surrounding areas, a list of the birds that might be seen on even a short stay at our lodge is impressive.
In addition to managing our own forest and land, and running Wildsumaco Lodge, we are working with people in nearby communities, seeking economic alternatives to the slash and burn agriculture that threatens the area's remaining rainforest. We've established a non-profit arm, Rio Pucuno Foundation, and through it have opened a biological research station. In time we hope that Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary will become a recognized base for scientific inquiry into ornithology, zoology, botany and other biological fields, within our own forests and in the nearby Sumaco National Park as well.
We are personally involved…
in every aspect of Wildsumaco's land and lodge, and believe that our direct, hands-on approach to conservation will work well here. Our presence serves to preserve and protect the rainforest and its wildlife, birders have unrivaled access to some of Ecuador's finest species, and lodge income will maintain the property. Beyond this, most of any profit from the lodge will be used to buy and protect additional forest in the Sumaco region, through the non-profit Rio Pucuno Foundation (see link above).
Who we are and our philosophy…
We are a handful of people from Sweden and the United States with long-term presence and experience throughout South America, although our total commitment is now in Ecuador's eastern foothills. Our backgrounds and training differ, but among our various talents we are all dedicated conservationists and birders, and one of us has been involved professionally in birding for many years.
Quite simply, we believe that as a private company we can successfully take on the challenge of doing something by ourselves that will make a difference in this very special part of Ecuador.
Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary S.A. is a small independent company, privately financed and operated. Our key to successful land stewardship is our direct, hands-on management of our company, our lodge and our forest.
This grass-roots effort is a deeply personal one for all of us. We have put our talents, our hearts and our own resources into what we are doing in Sumaco; our driving force is conservation, not profit. We shall maintain our commitments to forest conservation and to running a fine lodge, returning profits to the land, and find the responsibility to be an exciting challenge.
When you visit Wildsumaco, you'll see what a few individuals who are deeply committed to conservation can accomplish.
We're proud of what we have already achieved in Sumaco, and eagerly anticipate our future here on the eastern slope of Ecuador's Andes.
We will be good stewards of our land.
To read more about, or make a donation to help our conservation efforts financially, please go to: www.riopucunofoundation.org