Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge - Environmental Education Through Eco-Tourism
The spectacular Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge is conveniently located just 45 minutes from the city of Quito in Ecuador. Extending across 500ha, Pasochoa encompasses rare humid Andean shrub forest around an extinct volcano crater. The main forest of Pasochoa was discovered by Dr. Fernando Ortiz back in the 1970s. Ecuador's Ministry of Agriculture allocated the area as a Protected Forest in 1982 so as to guard it for research, education and conservation purposes. As of 1982 the Pasochoa region came under the care of the Fundación Natura. Finally, in 1997 it was named the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge and became a member of Ecuador's National System of Protected Areas.
Management of the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge has set out several objectives for the reserve. They are determined to protect the plant and animal life of Pasochoa Volcano as well as to promote scientific studies in the area. Another goal is to teach visitors through environmental education and to offer opportunities for eco-tourism. In fact, tourists can enjoy a number of trails through the park. These interpretative trails vary in distance and difficulty levels. The administrative office of the Pasochoa Refuge has a lodge, camping spots, kitchen, picnic area, parking, conference center and guide services.
Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge has a remarkable biological value. There are several vegetation zones, but much of the plant-life is Andean forest. The area has approximately 240 plant species, of which a large percentage can be used for medicinal purposes and other uses. As such, the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge is able to support a variety of animal species. In fact, the park is home to some 10 mammal species and 127 bird species. Bird watchers can look out for the 16 hummingbird species, as well as Andean condors, huirac-churos, semilleros, wild mountain turkeys, turtledoves and so forth. Other nature-lovers will enjoy spotting deer, Brazilian rabbits, pumas, skunks, bats, toads and frogs.
It is said that the area was affected by the eruption of Pasochoa volcano some 100 000 years ago. This resulted in a large bowl crater. As the zone has been difficult to access and was never suitable for agriculture or other forms of farming, the Andean forest is relatively untouched. It is therefore vital to protect this stunning natural area and the organisms that reside here. You are certain to have a wonderful time exploring the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge along its lovely pathways.