A hotspot of biodiversity
View from Porch at Pacha Quinidi
The Montane Cloud Forest at Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge supports numerous specifies of plants (flora) and animals (fauna). This includes many species endemic to Western Colombia and Western Ecuador. This area is known as the Choco region and has one of the world’s richest biodiversity. This includes a wide range of taxa, including plants, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, mammals, and birds.
Heilconia griggsiana endemic to Ecuador
One heliconia worth mentioning is “Heliconia griggsiana” Known as the “Angry Moon”. It is endemic to western Ecuador. The largest of all heliconias it grows to 26 feet(8 meters). This attractive heliconia with pinkish red bracts and blue-grey keel has a pendent inflorescence that the Tawny-bellied Hermit often visits. This plus many attractive flowers have been especially planted in the Hummingbird Garden to attract hummingbirds and allow visitors an up close look at both plant and birds.
The preservation and protection of this environment also benefits the only South American Bear, known as the Spectacled Bear due to its facial pattern of beige lines surrounding its eyes and cheek. Otherwise the creature is black. Mostly solitary, spectacled bears have been reduced in population in many areas by hunting and are among the most difficult Neotropical large mammals to see.
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In case of birds the Choco supports the largest number of restricted range birds of any Endemic Bird Area (EBA) in the Americas. Of the more than fifty bird species found nowhere else in the world outside the Choco, many of these can be easily found at Pacha Quindi. There are also countless numbers of plant species found here including orchids, bromeliads, heliconias, palms, ferns, etc.
The Olinguito a newly discovered mammal species from Western Colombia and Ecuador
The area is also home to a newly discovered mammal known as the “Olinguito” (Bassaricyon neblina). This mammal of the raccoon family lives in the montane forests in the Andes of western Colombia and Ecuador. The discovery was announced on 15 August 2013 by Kristofer Helgen, the curator of mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The discovery was the first discovery of a mammal species of the Carnivora family in the Americas in 35 years. The Olinguito has been visiting the garden at Pacha Quindi before it was recognized as member of a new species. The animal had been previously confused with its taxonomical cousin the Olingo. The species is not considered to be at risk, but it is estimated that over 40 percent of the animals potential range has been deforested. Yet another reason Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge and Habitat Restoration Project takes great satisfaction, as well as gratification in its sense of achievement at being able to protect and preserve the Andean Cloud Forest environment.
However that being said, there have been numerous sitings in the Tandayapa Valley and that includes Pacha Quindi Nature Refuge. Other notable mammal sitings at Pacha Quindi includes the Puma, Collared-Peccary, Kinkajou, Tayra, Andean Coatimundi, Andean Weasel, White-eared Opossum, Ecuadorian Mouse Opossum and Hoffman's Two-Toed Sloth.