Tropical Wildlife Ecology in Ecuador

In early March, 14 students from Forestry and Environmental Resources were able to travel to Ecuador for a 10-day trip over spring break. The trip was a key part of the Tropical Wildlife Ecology course (FW 405) taught by Dr. Chris Moorman every other year.

While in Ecuador, the class toured the capital city of Quito and visited the equator, traveled to the páramo biome famous for Andean condors, and spent six days in the Amazon basin staying at two different ecolodges. At the páramo, approximately 15 Andean condors were sighted along with an incredibly lucky view of a spectacled bear and cub.

The group mist netted for two days at Yacuma Ecolodge, catching a number of birds including a masked crimson tanager and a spot-winged antbird. Students put out camera traps for multiple days in the Amazon. Captures included lowland paca, collared peccary, Zamora red brocket deer, and a gray-winged trumpeter.

An early morning was spent on the three 100-foot canopy towers connected by walkways at Sacha Ecolodge, with views of the top of the rainforest at eye level. Other highlights were sightings of a brown-throated three-toed sloth, eight species of monkey, two species of dart frog, a red-tailed boa constrictor, and over 200 bird species. Although concerns about the spread of COVID-19 began escalating during their trip, the group departed Ecuador and returned to Raleigh safely and on time. The experience created memories that will not soon be forgotten.