The Tapiche Reserve contains several types of lowland forest ecosystems, including igapó, várzea and terra firme, all in one Amazon adventure.
This means our visitors get to see more jungle in less time. The variety of terrain supports an extensive encyclopedia of animal and plant species, and our remote location away from the bustling metropolis of Iquitos, Peru ensures that human interference is minimal.
We like to be up-front with our visitors about their chances of viewing wildlife. We don't control the animals, and we can't make any guarantees. But our guides are excellent at locating wildlife, and we know from species surveys of the property that we have something special. It is not unusual for visitors to encounter 8 different species of monkey in one day (we know of 13 so far in the Reserve), in addition to other land mammals, birds and dolphins.
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 recordable species grow. In 2013 we were thrilled to observe for the first time 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 noticed that all the monkeys of all ages and species looked healthy and plump during the high fruiting season. We consider this to be gratifying evidence that our work is having a positive effect on the property.
Like the animals, the plants and trees in the Reserve are wild. This includes all of the jungle fruits, from the more familiar cacao (Theobroma cacao) to exotic fruits like açaí (Euterpe Oleracea), aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa), cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum), wild grapefruit (toronja) (Citrus sp.) 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), walking palm (Socratea exorrhiza), rubber tree (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).
Of the 35 species recorded in 2011, our guests most commonly observe pink river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), grey river dolphin (Sotalia fluviatilis), common squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus), saddleback tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis), brown capuchin (Cebus apella), red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus), and three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus). You also have good chances of seeing the red uakari (Cacajao calvus), monk saki (Pithecia monacus), white-fronted capuchin (Cebus albifrons), South American coati (Nasua nasua) and giant river otter (Pteroneura brasiliensis).
216 species of birds were identified at the Reserve in 2011, the result of a 3-day survey conducted with binoculars only (no telescope) and discounting all canopy birds. 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), were identified. Since that survey, the list has nearly doubled. Among the new recorded species are crested eagle (Morphnus guianensis), rufous-necked puffbird (Melacoptila Rufa), rufous-capped nunlet (Nonnula ruficapilla), 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, Retiles 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), you are sure to find something fascinating.
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 to see detailed species reports or information, please Contact Us.
Header photo: Monk saki (Pithecia monachus)
© 2013 Deborah Chen