The Tapiche Reserve contains several types of lowland forest ecosystems, including igapó, várzea and terra firme, all in one Amazon adventure.
The variety of terrain at the Tapiche Reserve supports an encyclopedic list of animal and plant species, and our remote location provides a bit of sanctuary away from the bustling metropolis of Iquitos, Peru, population est 600,000.
We like to be up-front with visitors about the chances of viewing wildlife. We don't control the animals, therefore we can't make any guarantees. But our guides are excellent at tracking and locating animals, and we've come to know the general patterns of activity and habits of many species popular with birdwatchers and mammalwatchers. It is not unusual for visitors to encounter 8 different species of monkey in one day (there are 13 species that we know of so far in the Reserve), in addition to other land mammals, birds, aquatic mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
The numbers listed below are from an official survey completed in 2011, just after the Reserve property was established. We've worked hard since then to protect the area and have watched the number of species grow. In 2013 we were thrilled to observe for the first time the full life cycles of several species. We watched newborn babies become juveniles, learning life skills of the jungle and finally reaching self-sufficient adulthood. In 2014 we happily observed that all the monkeys of all ages and species looked healthy and plump during the high fruiting season, and family groups of monkeys and birds seemed to be growing in number. We consider this to be gratifying evidence that our work is having a positive effect on the property.
Just like the animals, the plants and trees in the Reserve are wild. This includes the jungle fruits, from the more familiar cacao (Theobroma cacao) to exotic fruits like açaí (Euterpe Oleracea), aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa), cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum), and camu camu (Myrciaria dubia). The fruit trees grow interspersed with the other plant life of the forest, like the majestic 55m-tall huimba (Ceiba pentandra), the curious walking palm (Socratea exorrhiza), thick rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) and various winding, old-growth vines. A natural pharmacy is represented through various trees, bushes, grasses and vines, including chuchuhuasi (Maytenus sp.), uña de gato (Uncaria tomentosa) and ajo sacha (Mansoa alliacea).
We have an impressive list of mammals that live on land, in trees, and in the water. Our guests most commonly observe pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), grey river dolphin (Sotalia fluviatilis), Peruvian black-capped squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis peruviensis), Bolivian black-capped squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis boliviensis), saddleback tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis), large-headed capuchin (Sapajus macrocephalus), red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus), and brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus). You also have good chances of seeing the red uakari (Cacajao calvus), monk saki (Pithecia monacus), Spix’s white-fronted capuchin (Cebus unicolor), South American coati (Nasua nasua) and giant river otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis). Let us know if you are a mammalwatcher looking for something specific!
A 3-day survey conducted with binoculars only (no telescope) in 2011 counted 216 species of birds, discounting all canopy birds. There were 18 species of macaws, parrots, and parakeets and 27 species of raptors, including the endangered Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) and Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus). Since that survey, the list has doubled. Among the new recorded species are Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis), Rufous-necked Puffbird (Melacoptila rufa), Rufous-capped Nunlet (Nonnula ruficapilla), Rufous-headed Woodpecker (Celeus spectabilis), Azure Gallinule (Porphyrio flavirostris) and Dusky-tailed Flatbill (Ramphotrigon fuscicauda). Observers commonly spot falcons, herons, egrets, toucans, owls, woodpeckers and kingfishers. The remoteness of the Reserve makes it great for identifying and recording bird calls and songs.
Fish, Reptiles and Amphibians
From red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) to paiche (Arapaima gigas, one of the world's largest freshwater fish), bushmaster (Lachesis muta) to anaconda (Eunectus murinus), caiman lizard (Dracaena Guianensis) to giant 4m-long black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulatato) to endangered river turtles up to 1m long, and from frogs that could fit on your fingernail to the 8-in smokey jungle frog (Leptodactylus pentadactylus), even the visitors who normally aren't interested in these kinds of animals are able to find beauty in our variety.
Insects and Arachnids
If you like to study insects and arachnids, we have several species of tarantulas and spiders, stick insects, scorpions, beetles, ants, moths, dragonflies and butterflies, including the stunning blue morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides).
Please note these lists are not comprehensive. If you would like detailed species reports or more information, please Contact Us.
Banner photo: Monk saki (Pithecia monachus)
© 2013 Deborah Chen