Chaparrí: Naturaleza protegida

We reached the city of Chiclayo early in the morning, with a many activities in on our agenda, but what we were really looking forward to was Chaparrí, a privately-owned conservation area covering 34,412 hectares belonging to and administered by a rural community in the dry forests of northern Peru.  The reserve takes its name from a spectacular mountain that dominates the skyline and is the source of many local legends.
Chaparrí is a model for community conservation and an ecotourism project that benefits the local population. Furthermore, Chaparrí is a scientific research centre dedicated to the dry forest ecosystems and the species that live in them.
When we entered the reserve we met Juan, the guide who would accompany us during our stay a true lover of nature, birds and photography, and a faithful protector of the reserve.

After about 30 minutes in the reserve we reached Chaparrí eco-lodge, a comfortable lodge built from local materials and designed to harmonise perfectly with its surroundings. The lodge is the perfect refuge from which we would go and discover some of the 245 species of birds, including humming birds, magpies, the white-winged guan and many others. Other animals also live in the reserve and during our three-day stay we shared it with foxes, who politely waited on us while we ate, peccaries and a number of deer.

During our 3 days we saw the different conservation projects being implemented in the reserve and to which local people are fully committed. The first was the spectacled bear project; we met Cholita and Cuto who have been rescued and are now living in the reserve; Cholita is soon to be released into the wild, within the reserve.  We also got to know the condor project which has two condors, one of which arrived when very young and is now almost an adult and will also be released soon.

The other project concerns the white-winged guan, a bird which is endemic to this area but was hunted almost to extinction before the creation of the reserve; now this bird can be seen regularly.
In the feeding area birds and other animals can be seen from very early in the morning, as they come to feed and drink at the feeders installed deliberately so that guests can see and photograph them; in the same area in the evening you can enjoy a coffee under the stars and full moon.

Mobile phone reception in the reserve is limited and Internet access almost zero; phone and camera batteries can be recharged at certain times only, because electricity is supplied by a generator. The rooms are very comfortable and because the climate is temperate in these parts there is always hot water for washing. One of our greatest fears concerned the food: what would we eat in the middle of a nature reserve? However we were pleasantly surprised, our chef was Ms Elisabeth and there wasn't a day when she failed to prepare delicious meat dishes, salads and even puddings! We also tried local mushrooms, used as the basis for the vegetarian dishes in which she also specialises.

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