Los Guatuzos, Nicaragua
Tropical rain forest biologist and wildlife guide, Armando, and his wife Aillen Mejia Valasquez, recently sent out a plea for money for food and medicine for themselves and their community of Los Guatuzos on the Rio Papaturro, in Nicaragua very near the Costa Rica border. Because of the downward political spiral and near collapse of Nicaragua, tourism has drastically dropped by nearly 95%. The family has had only two groups of people stay in their cabanas in the past two years.
As a result, the welfare of the community is in dire need of food, medical supplies, clothing for school children, and other necessities to sustain themselves.
The attraction to this community is the Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge, which provides an excellent opportunity for nature lovers and ecologists to explore the flora and fauna of Nicaragua's unique tropical rain forest. The diversity and abundance of wildlife in Los Guatuzos is truly amazing. More than 400 species of birds have been observed and between February and April, flocks of migratory species fly through in spectacular concentrations. Los Guatuzos also contains dense populations of crocodiles, caimans, feral pigs, jaguars and howler, white-faced, and spider monkeys.
Armando is a rock solid person. A self-taught biologist, he has written a chapter on his specialty - the miniature orchids of the rain forest - and included his photos in the book "Orchids of Nicaragua". Though his eco-tourism business is a minimalist enterprise, he is well known as one of the leading wildlife guides in the country, and many top officials have sought out his services. Armando built all of the cabins and outside furniture at his retreat by hand, quite simply and beautifully done. He plans to capitalize on his woodworking skills by building rustic furniture and selling it in the strong economy present in Costa Rica. He needs to invest in tools, materials, and labour to do so.
The Valesquez family are so generous with their time and knowledge, helping visitors to appreciate the native birds, plants and animals in this incredible ecosystem.
In today’s climate-challenged world, we must all join together to support the experts who understand and teach the importance of rain forest ecology.