The Tapiche Jungle Reserve is a private conservation project located in Tapiche District, Requena Province, Loreto Region in northern Peru. The 6,000-hectare reserve (1,500 under active management), is accessible only by waterway. Located about 400 km upriver from Iquitos on the Tapiche River, the reserve comprises several types of lowland Amazonian forests, including igapo, varzea, and terra firma. The reserve represents one of the few areas in the Amazon basin where these forest types can be found in close proximity. It is home to endangered species such as jaguar (Panthera onca), bald uakari (Cacajao calvus), giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), the Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris), the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), 330 species of birds documented so far, including, during the high-water season, breeding colonies of Agami Herons (Agamia agami) and Boat-billed Herons (Cochlearius cochlearius). Zigzag Herons (Zebrilus undulatus) and Capped Herons (Pilherodius pileatus) are also found in the reserve. Inside the reserve, there are swamps, lakes, canals, oxbows, aguajales, and restingas. It has annual temperatures ranging from 25 °C (77 °F) to 33 °C (91 °F) and an annual rain fall of about 3 meters, permitting an immense variety of species to thrive in the area.
Our intention from the start was to engage local people from the surrounding riverine communities, which were founded on illegal logging and commercial wildlife trade, in the reserve's conservation projects. It was vital to demonstrate through tangible benefits and results how wildlife conservation and maintenance of the jungle could be beneficial to the communities. We hired local people to work at the lodge, providing neighboring communities with income generated through conservation. Utilizing the locals' existing knowledge and experience of the jungle as a foundation, former poachers and loggers honed professional guiding and hospitality skills under the guidance of the Tapiche team. Local people who worked with us often gained enough financial stability to substantially improve the quality of life for themselves and for their families, including safe housing, schools for their children, and the ability to create their own business ventures.
Tapiche officially opened for visitors in December 2012. Visitor income has been the primary financial base for the Reserve and its many projects, including a highly successful turtle rescue project (tens of thousands of eggs have been rescued from poachers, incubated, and the hatchlings released to the wild), projects to grow açai and aguaje for harvest and sale (again, providing income for local people), and a project to monitor Agami Heron breeding colonies.
Most of the funding for the reserve comes from the fees paid by visitors. Due to COVID, the lodge was closed for two years, so there was no income. The lodge is now receiving guests again and regaining its footing.
We're now looking for a few special individuals to fill salaried positions as well as volunteers for this year's Citizen Science Turtle Rescue Project from June-September 2022. This is a chance for people to get involved in-person, on the ground, with your hands literally in the sand at the front lines of conservation!
See details about these opportunities here: https://www.tapichejungle.com/join-our-team
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