The Spectacular Wildlife of Ecuador
Ecuador is a large country with a varied terrain resulting in a variety of habitats for animal life. Nature lovers will thoroughly enjoy touring the natural areas of the country and spotting Ecuador's wildlife species. The many nature reserves and national parks provide tourists with the ideal opportunity to spot mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. From aquatic creatures to terrestrial animals and arboreal specialists, Ecuador is a land of biodiversity.
Should you be traveling through the Andes of Ecuador you stand a chance of spotting pudu, Andean fox, puma, spectacled bear and mountain tapirs as well as various hummingbirds and the great Andean Condor. The mist-covered cloud forest regions of Ecuador are filled with bird species such as tanagers, hummingbirds, Long-wattled Umbrella birds and plate-billed toucans. Mammals in the cloud forest are limited. Skulking through the undergrowth and climbing high in the trees, the Amazon Jungle is filled with wildlife. Reptiles abound and include large iguanas, colorful geckos, tortoises, lizards, the caiman and massive anacondas. Mammals of Ecuador's Amazon include river dolphins, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, sloths and anteaters. See how many of the enormous numbers of insects you can see. Inside the Amazon River are catfish, stingrays, piranhas and eels. Traveling along the Pacific coast of Ecuador you may see lovely birds such as pelicans and frigate birds. The renowned Galapagos Islands boast a wide variety of wildlife. Reptiles are king here with Pacific green turtles, giant tortoises and iguana species. The seas are home to fur seals, dolphins, whales, sharks, crustaceans and rays. The Galapagos are also rich in bird life with frigates, boobies, albatrosses, cormorants and Galapagos penguins.
One of the most unusual and biggest terrestrial mammals in Ecuador is the Tapir. These shy creatures can weigh up to 300kg. Carnivores are always a favorite amongst tourists and Ecuador boasts 31 species. If you are lucky you may spot a magnificent Jaguar or even a hardy Puma. Primates always provide entertainment. Look out for Spider monkeys, Squirrel monkeys and Woolly monkeys. The oceans are packed with animal life such as manatees (sea cows), whales and dolphins.
Sadly, some of Ecuador's wildlife faces an uncertain future. Species listed as critically endangered are the Spiny Rat Species and the endemic Galapagos Rice Rat. On the endangered list you will find the Mountain Tapir, Pacarana, Colombian Weasel, Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Giant Armadillo, Giant Otter and a few others. Vulnerable animals requiring protection include the Amazonian Manatee, Bush Dog, Boto or Amazon River Dolphin, Humpback Whale, various bats, Long-haired Spider Monkey, the endemic Galapagos Fur Seal, Giant Anteater and others.
You can contribute to the protection of these vital species in Ecuador by supporting the nature reserves scattered around the country as well as conservation initiatives that are held by various organizations. By preserving what we have, the generations to come can also enjoy ecotourism in the country and learn more about Ecuador's wildlife.