This month marks exciting news for Mashpi Lodge as the award-winning eco-lodge announces the discovery of a new plant species previously unknown to science, making it the 10th species discovery at the lodge in 10 years, just in time for it’s 10th year anniversary. A hideaway in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, the pioneering lodge has spent the past decade committed to protecting the 2,882 HA Mashpi Reserve, one of the most biodiverse places in the world, home to over 400 species of bird and 500 species of plant, as well as monkeys, peccaries and even puma.
A cocoon in the clouds, the 24-room glass-fronted lodge is a window to the natural world that places sustainable tourism at the forefront. This month, Mashpi’s team of leading scientists, working in with Ecuadorian researchers, announced a new botanical species, Columnea fluidifolia, previously unknown to science. The endemic status of this plant reiterates Mashpi’s contribution to conservation, and with only 40 of the species identified, this colourful, eye-catching plant is considered critically endangered. The plant joins the nine other species confirmed as new for science including species of orchids and magnolia, and more recently, the Mashpi Glass Frog. The reserve is monitored and protected by ten ‘Forest Guardians’ – eco-acoustic monitoring devices – in partnership with revolutionary tech organisation Rainforest Connection. Initially implemented to listen for sounds of destructive and illegal activity, the Forest Guardians have subsequently created a trove of eco-data for a closer look at what lies within this precious ecosystem.
Wishing to further your learning about ongoing conservation initiatives? Take a trip to the Science Laboratory, stroll to the Life Centre to remark at 21 butterfly species, delight in 35 species of dancing hummingbirds at the Hummingbird Garden or enjoy panoramic vistas from the eight-storey Observation Tower. Join naturalist guides on daily hikes and for a unique perspective of the rainforest canopy, soar through the treetops on Mashpi’s gondola, the Dragonfly, or peddle across 200-metre gorge on the reserve’s Sky Bike.