In the heart of one of the richest and most biodiverse regions on the planet, the Tambopata National Reserve, lies the most remote Amazon lodge in Peru and an incredible conservation initiative, Wired Amazon. Rainforest Expeditions, the owners of Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas, and Posada Amazonas, are collaborating with scientists to conduct Wired Amazon, a citizen science project that gets guests involved in the identification of new species, the assessing of botany, and the appraising of biodiversity in the jungle.
Aracari is proud to support and promote Wired Amazon. We encourage you to contact us so we can tell you more about the project or help arrange a stay at the lodges as part of a private, tailormade trip to Peru.
Wired Amazon: The Projects
In 2016 began the Wired Amazon initiative, which is a collection of 3 science projects powered by Rainforest Expeditions. The goal of Wired Amazon is to connect guests with the research that is taking place in the forest, and give them an opportunity to participate in the important scientific data collection. For example, travelers can partake in wildlife investigations with scientists in the field- setting light traps and camera traps or you can help out by counting species. This project is unique in that when the trip is over, the citizen scientists can continue their involvement via their personal computer. Through the Wired Amazon website, people around the world can help identify fauna and flora and new species by watching live videos and photos taken by the camera traps and mini drones across the jungle.
Using AmazonCam, the biodiversity element of Wired Amazon studies the species both at canopy level, and on the rainforest floor. The cameras take a picture when they sense the heat of an animal, and citizen scientists help identify the species in the photos.
Overseen by Dr. Mark Bowler, check out the video below for more details on the project. The best part of all? Dr. Bowler offers travel credits (1 image identified = $1) that can go towards your stay at the lodges that support Wired Amazon.
Led by Dr. Varun Swamy, the aerobotany sector of Wired Amazon is where science and technology come together. Using drones that fly high above the tops of the trees (50m above the forest floor), the scientists capture high resolution images of the rainforest canopy. Using these images, they encourage ‘citizen scientists’ to assess the production of the trees, whether they are in bloom, and the presence of crops.
The Wired Amazon aerobotany research helps gather data that directly assists in forest conservation efforts, and by identifying trees that are producing fruit could also positively impact the local economy. Dr. Swamy “believes that citizen scientists can make a valuable contribution towards gathering data that will improve our understanding of the biological rhythms and life cycles of rainforest trees, and help monitor and protect these invaluable rainforest ecosystems in the long term.”
Identifying New Species
Wired Amazon is working with the International Barcode of Life (IBOL) project to build a DNA barcode library of all the species in the world. Guests at Refugio Amazonas can go on collection walks with scientists to trap different insects, and then analyze them for submission to the IBOL. The project discovers about one new species per month, and the guest who discovers it, gets to name it too!
Wired Amazon: An Aracari Responsible Travel Peru Initiative
On a recent visit to Tambopata Research Center Aracari Founder and CEO Marisol Mosquera had the opportunity to participate in the Wired Amazon project, as well as discuss the initiative with scientist, Daniel. His passion for the jungle, and the idea of Wired Amazon ignited Marisol with the desire to promote and support the project.
Aracari is passionate about protecting the natural wonders of Peru, Bolivia, and the Galapagos, as well as the local people who inhabit the areas. Supporting Wired Amazon is one of our many responsible travel Peru initiatives. Aracari supports environmental and social projects across the countries, and we continually work to maximize our sustainability by minimizing our impact.
The Tambopata National Reserve
To help understand what Wired Amazon is working to preserve and why Aracari is so keen to promote the project, it is important to quantify the Tambopata National Reserve. 3.7 million acres of protected jungle, the Tambopata National Reserve protects habitats ranging from the Andean highlands around the rivers’ headwaters through some of the last remaining cloud forests, to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon. It is vast, and home to over 1,300 bird species, 200 mammal species, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species, 94 fish species, 135 kinds of ants, 40 termites species, 39 varieties of bees and 10,000 varieties of plants. On top of that, scientists are frequently discovering new species.
The Tambopata National Reserve is also home to the world’s largest known mineral clay lick, where hundreds of parrots and macaws congregate daily to ingest the detoxifying clay. The macaw clay lick is located less than 500 metres (1,640 feet) from the Tambopata Research Center, an Aracari top pick Amazon lodge, and also one of the lodges behind the Wired Amazon project.
More on Rainforest Expeditions
Rainforest Expeditions, which backs the Wired Amazon project, has research at the heart of the company. It all began with the Macaw Project in 1989. For almost 30 years the associated lodges have been studying the ecology and natural history of the beautiful birds and using the information to to aid in their conservation.
Additionally, another reason Aracari is so fond of the company is that Rainforest Expeditions makes sure their sustainability efforts and research projects elevate their value in the jungle. They are Rainforest Alliance Verified lodges and engage directly with native communities to develop tourism in Peru’s jungle. Their focus is on sustainable, community-based tourism and they provide employment for guides, cooks and lodge staff. The lodges are also built with local materials, using water and energy efficiency programs.
If you are a responsible traveler, check out our Connecting with Peru itinerary which includes a stay at Tambopata Research Center or contact us to arrange a private, tailormade, sustainable trip to Peru.