Inkaterra Bear Sanctuary

The bear from darkest Peru

To celebrate the upcoming release of the much anticipated ‘Paddington’ film in November 2014, starring Nicole Kidman, we’re launching an Andean Spectacled Bear Package enabling fans to see the real thing close up in its home of Peru.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo - Andean Bear Experience

The package includes a three-night stay at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, where guests will learn about the life of a bear keeper at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Andean Spectacled Bear Project.

This pioneering conservation programme is an effort designed to recover bears that have been negatively affected by human impact, and whenever possible reintroduce them to their natural habitat in the Andean mountains. The Andean Spectacled Bear is a critically endangered species and these conservation efforts are crucial in helping this animal survive for future generations.

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As part of the new package, guests will have exclusive access shadowing bear keepers, learning about the challenges they face and how the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Spectacled Bear Project is helping these bears thrive.

After coming face to face with the bears, guests will receive a ‘Bear Kit’ which will include a special bear keepers certificate, a soft toy Spectacled bear as well as tickets to see the feature film upon their return home.

Andean Bear at Inkaterra Machu Picchu

Prices for the Andean Spectacled Bear Package start from USD1,045 (approx. £622) per guest based on double occupancy, and include three nights full-board accommodation at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, plus the special Bear Kit to take home and one ticket per guest to see the film (a cinema voucher of up to £15 per person). A percentage of all proceeds from these bookings will be donated to the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Spectacled Bear Sanctuary Project.

Machu Picchu at sunrise

 A guided excursion to the Machu Picchu Citadel is also included. 

To find out more about this project, click here.

 

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Humpback Whales sighted in Cabo Blanco

Whilst Peru is famed for its birdlife and other indigenous species (a famous bear springs to mind…) the seas around the country are home to a wealth of species.

The proposed marine reserve at Cabo Blanco is rich in biodiversity, and no more so than the humpback whales that migrate to the area to breed.

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Since June, individual humpbacks have been arriving in the area, having completed a marathon sea voyage of over 9000km from the cooler high latitude waters where they spend the summer, to the warm tropical waters where they breed and raise their young.

The South American coast is considered the favourite place for whales to give birth, and the seas around Peru are a great place to spot these magnificent giants.The locals in Cabo Blanco have already seen the whales breaching – throwing over half their body out of the water – about 70m off shore.

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Growing up to 17metres, these whales feed on the smallest creatures in the ocean, krill.

It is thought that a significant number of whale calves are born near the Peruvian coast, where several ocean currents meet. The warmer waters are perfect nurseries for the young whales, before they begin their annual migration to the colder waters of the poles for their summer feeding grounds.

Inkaterra is working hard to preserve the rich biodiversity in the area around Cabo Blanco, which is the proposed site of its next major conservation project.

Anaconda Walk

An Interview with… Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin (part 2)

In our second interview with the incredible Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin, we talk about his thoughts about the future of ecotourism in Peru. 

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After visiting more than 80 countries, which place is closer to your views on ecotourism and sustainable development?

It is difficult to name one place, but Australia, Kenya, Costa Rica and (in some regions) Peru stand out in terms of ecotourism and sustainable development.

What is your opinion about tourism in Peru?

There is no doubt that Peru has one of the world’s greatest potentials for ecotourism, due to its astonishing biological, cultural and landscape megadiversity. One example is bird-watching. Peru is second place on Earth with the largest number of bird species (1,879 species), 139 of which are endemic. We know that bird watching represents the widest and most outreached segment of ecotourism on a global scale: in the United States in 2011, 71.8 million people observed, fed and/or photographed birds and fauna in their natural habitat. These people spent US$54.9 billion on wildlife observation trips (including birds), as well as gear and other related aspects. Bird watching is the most popular outdoor activity in the US, and it is even more popular than sport fishing, sport hunting and golf.  On the other hand, the Inca ruins in Peru are an extraordinary attraction for tourists all around the world.

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From an environmental architect’s standpoint, what are your views on Inkaterra’s design and its conservation projects?

Inkaterra’s eco-friendly architecture is at the world’s highest level. In Tambopata and Machu Picchu, architectural forms and native building materials have been successfully applied to achieve harmony with the natural environment. At Inkaterra La Casona, in Cusco, a brilliant remodeling of Spanish colonial architecture has been achieved. I am very impressed with the outstanding work on conservation that Inkaterra is developing, especially in Machu Picchu and Tambopata, which can be seen in activities such as observation of native orchids, birds and Andean bears. The work that biologist Carmen Soto does at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is truly remarkable. The World Birding Rally organised by ITA, MINCETUR and PromPerú across the country’s Nor Amazon region, was a great success and should be replicated throughout all regions of Peru. The concept of developing an ITA field station within the grounds of Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is both necessary and urgent.

During this visit to Peru, have you added a lifer to your 3793-bird life list?

In my case, that number of 3793  is already out of date! I have reached 4,366 lifers (bird species in their natural habitat, observed for the first time by a birdwatcher). In the last five years, I had the pleasure of adding five visits to Peru (I have been 10 times in this amazing country) and from my 4,366 birds, I have registered 219 of these in Peru. Actually, in early June I was able to add 4 to my list while bird watching at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, with the assistance of Braulio Puma, the skillful Inkaterra Explorer Guide.

Birding at Inkaterra

José Koechlin argues that a bird migration route should be promoted by the countries that belong to the Pacific Alliance. Do you think this proposal would be beneficial?

I think José’s proposal is excellent. As we know, the Pacific Alliance is an initiative for regional integration. Its purposes are political, commercial, economic and social, though an ecological component should be added. If natural resources from the world’s greatest ocean are not adequately conserved, it is evident that the objectives proposed by the Pacific Alliance will not be achieved. There are many  bird species that endure transoceanic migration routes, and it is urgent that we develop more specialised studies and conservation projects in this area, and that the Pacific Alliance participate in an active way. This would bring great benefits to the participating countries and their habitants.

So, right now are you working in a new publication?

Yes, I am researching and gathering material for a publication on the world’s best ecolodges, describing their aspects on environmental architecture and their standards on ecotouristic sustainability. Watch this space!

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An Interview with…Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin

Mexican architect and environmentalist Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin is renowned across the planet as the Father of Ecotourism. Winner of the Colibrí Ecotourism Lifetime Achievement Award, his work includes more than 160 books and articles, and has developed his eco-friendly designs in countries such as Mexico, Dominican Republic, Spain and Egypt. In June Mr. Ceballos-Lascuráin visited Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, and we had the chance to talk with him about the challenges of ecotourism and sustainability, his view on architecture, and the latest four species he added to his 4,366-bird life list.

When did you first start to appreciate nature?

It developed in my early childhood back at Parral – Chihuahua, a small mining town in Northern Mexico. We lived in a colony where the houses of the trusted employees (my father was the company’s doctor) were located at broad collective gardens with big trees surrounding an artificial lake. Many aquatic birds migrated to the lake, among ducks, herons, kingfishers and cormorants. I started observing them with a telescope given by my uncle Juan, and from then on, I was hooked.

Do you recall the precise moment when the term ‘ecotourism’ emerged?

I coined the term ‘ecotourism’ in July 1983, when I worked both as Director General of Standards and Technology at SEDUE (Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecología de México) and as Founding President of PRONATURA, an influential conservationist NGO in Mexico. During those days PRONATURA was encouraging the conservation of  coastal inlets of the Yucatán peninsula, which were then key breeding and feeding areas for the American Flamingo. One of the key reasons I used to help dissuade the building works being planned for the area was that there was an increasing number of tourists – especially from the United States – that visited the area for bird watching. I was  convinced that these people could play a key role in the economic growth of rural communities, creating new job opportunities and helping preserve the ecology of the area: ecotourism!

After three decades since the term’s appearance and having been interpreted according to different contexts, do you think its definition has changed?

I think that my definition, as it has been adopted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is still valid: “Ecotourism is a modality of tourism that is environmentally responsible, which consists in travelling to or visiting natural areas without disturbance, and with the purpose of enjoying, appreciating and studying the natural values (landscape, flora and fauna) of these areas, as well as any (past or current) cultural manifestation that may be found there, through a process that promotes conservation, has a low negative impact on culture and environment, a promotes an active and socioeconomically beneficial involvement of local communities.”

The COP 20 will be held in Lima on December 2014. The overarching goal at this event is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in order to avoid global temperature increasing 2°. In what ways ecotourism can be a choice to achieve this mission?

As it values natural vegetation and fauna, it is evident that ecotourism contributes to minimize deforestation (which is known to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) and other drastic changes produced by man in our natural environment.

In many cases, a country’s economic growth is not aligned with the conservancy of its natural and historic heritage. According to your experience, what are the main consequences of this form of development?

Regretfully, since the mid-19th century and during all the 20th century, we have experienced the worst destruction of our planet’s natural resources, due to man’s unscrupulous lucrative eagerness and the irrational exploit of these resources. This industrial, commercial and economic development has obviously occurred in a more noticeable way in richer countries. This is how a great proportion of natural and cultural values have been irreversibly lost in these countries. Extreme consumerism has been disastrous for the environment.

Stay tuned for the second part of this interview, where we talk about Héctor’s views on ecotourism in Peru and his opinions on the work of Inkaterra.

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2014 Second Quarter Photo Contest

The Inkaterra Second Quarter Photographic contest has come to a conclusion here in Peru, and we have had some spectacular sights and entries which help to showcase this environment at its finest. Take a look at our finalists below, and we are proud to reveal the winning photograph for this quarter is…

The Black-Fronted Nunbird, taken by Inkaterra’s own Angelo Bardelli

Black-fronted Nunbird-Angelo Bardelli

Black-fronted Nunbird-Angelo Bardelli

Dusk - Carla Herrera

Dusk – Carla Herrera

Bote selva - Dessire Valdéz

Bote selva – Dessire Valdéz

Leaf Toad - Jose Yovera

Leaf Toad – Jose Yovera

Mariposa - Claudia León

Mariposa – Claudia León

Social Flycatcher- Aldo Corazzo

Social Flycatcher- Aldo Corazzo

 

Odontoglossum Praestans - Diana Trucíos

Odontoglossum Praestans – Diana Trucíos

Southern Tamandua - Carlos Torres

Southern Tamandua – Carlos Torres

Think you can do better? Well, grab your camera and passport and find out just how amazing each of the Inkaterra Hotels can be!

 

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Giant Anteater Spotted at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción

Spotting any wild animal in their natural environment is an exciting moment, but spotting a creature that is normally very shy and elusive has an extra special resonance. The 13th of June proved to a group of travellers that the Amazon jungle is still full of surprises.

Led by Inkaterrra Hacienda Concepción Explorer Guide Carlos Torres, the group were heading towards Lake Sandoval, along the Sandoval trail, when one exclaimed they had seen ‘a large dark creature’.

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The creature was actually a Giant Anteater, (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) which was approximately three metres long, making it the biggest individual of the four that currently inhabit the area. Though the Giant Anteater is known to be active in the region, this was the first time in several years that this species had been observed. The group of trekkers were in luck, with the individual feeling totally at ease in their presence, feeding on a nearby termite mound.

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The Giant Anteater can consume as many as 30,000 insects in one day – visiting over 200 individual nests, spending an average of one minute at each site. After tearing open the hard nest exterior with long, knife-like claws, the Giant Anteater uses its sticky, 60cm long tongue to collect its prey.

Traditionally Giant Anteaters have been featured in the mythology and folklore of the indigenous tribes found in the Amazon, considered a trickster and a foil to the Jaguar, making this creature at the very heart of the Amazon civilisation and history.

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It was a great experience for the group to see such a majestic creature that is normally seldom seen in their natural habitat. The fact that we have four individuals who are looking healthy and active demonstrates the great work the ITA are doing at protecting the environment in which they thrive.