G.S.E. pictures

G.S.E. website


Global Student Embassy is an Eco-Action Education program in Bahia de Caraquez involves 125 students at 4 schools in restoring their local environment and engaging their community in sustainable practices. Local GSE Director Ramon Loor is a Natural Science teacher and a steward of la Punta Gorda Natural Preserve who connects students to projects focused on: reforestation, recycling, water scarcity, organic agriculture, climate change, and the effects these issues have on the local community.


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“Education with action, Eco Educative Actions. Ecuador lost 98% of its dry tropical forest in the coastal area.”


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  • observation of the forest
  • selection of trees
  • recollection of seeds
  • seed management
  • making compost
  • preparing the soil
  • seed bed preparation
  • seed germination
  • permanent irrigation
  • bottleneck recycling bell
  • cut bottles
  • transplanting the little plants
  • classification and counting
  • maintenance of trees at green house
  • transportation
  • trail developement
  • re-transplanting trees in direct soil
  • maintenance

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Wildlife of la Cordillera

Camera trapping research project 2016

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Report on Animals,

Research Project

In June 2016, we began a wildlife research project, in collaboration with Humboldt State University, to investigate mammalian ecology in a fragment of regenerating tropical dry forest in coastal Ecuador. With support from the Sequoia Park Zoo Conservation Grant Program, we deployed 20 remote-sensor camera traps in La Punta Gorda and Bosque Verde ecological reserves. The goal of the research has been to empower a community lead effort to document the mammalian diversity of these regenerated areas and assess the affects of human disturbances on habitat use and diversity. This project is ongoing and the data will be analyzed and published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2018.

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Reports on animals

South American Coati

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South American coati have been photographed at every camera station. They are widespread throughout the mountain range and are often seen in groups of 3-15.

Conservation Status: South American coati are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN worldwide. Little is known of their status in coastal Ecuador and though they are generalists foragers there habitat is shrinking considerably.


Western Tamandua

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Tamandua mexicana

Western tamandua are often photographed particularly in very dry forests where there are many termite nests.

Conservation Status: Western tamandua are listed as Least Concern globally by the IUCN but regionally in Ecuador there population is listed as Vulnerable due to ongoing habitat loss.



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Eira barbara

Tayra are elusive jungle carnivores closely related to wolverines of northern latitudes. They are the most abundant diurnal carnivore in La Cordillera del Balsamo

Conservation Status: The tayra is listed as Least Concern by IUCN, but regional habitat loss in coastal Ecuador may be threatening local populations.



Greater Grison

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Galictis vittata

Captured only once in a very remote area of semi-deciduous forest, the greater grison is a rare jungle carnivore that is very understudied. Little is known of the ecology and distribution of this elusive member of the weasel family; it has previously not been officially recorded in Ecuador west of the Andes.

Conservation Status: The greater grison is listed as Least Concern globally by the IUCN, but regionally in Ecuador it is listed as Data Deficient because very little is known about its ecology and distribution.



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Leopardus weidii

The margay is a small spotted cat that hunts often night, climbing trees to hunt small mammals and birds. The margay is frequently recorded throughout La Cordillera del Balsamo, with particular abundance in areas far from human disturbance.

Conservation Status and Threats: Globally the margay is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, but in Ecuador it is listed as Vulnerable due to poaching and habitat loss.



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Leopardus pardalis

The ocelot is a medium-sized spotted cat that is slightly larger than the margay. They are active both at night and during the day, though predominantly hunt at night. Like the margay, ocelots are frequently recorded throughout La Cordillera del Balsamo and with greater abundance farther from human habitation.

Conservation Status and Threats: Globally, the ocelot is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. Populations in Ecuador are listed as Near
Threatened and the populations west of the Andes likely face higher threats due to habitat fragmentation and poaching.



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Puma yagouaroundi


The jaguarundi is a diurnal generalist carnivore closely related to the puma. It is very abundant throughout La Cordillera del Balsamo and tends to prefer dry scrub habitat and disturbed areas.

Conservation Status and Threats: The Jaguarundi is not globally threatened but regionally in Ecuador it is listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened due to poaching and habitat loss


White-tailed Deer

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Odocoileus virginianus

The white-tailed deer is common throughout La Cordillera del Balsamo, particularly in more remote areas.

Conservation Status and Threats: While the white-tailed deer is globally listed as Least Concern, it is Endangered in Ecuador and its populations are heavily threatened by poaching and habitat loss. Deer poachers have been photographed by our cameras in La Cordillera del Balsamo.


Collared Peccary

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Pecari tajac

The collared peccary is common in both dry forest and semi- deciduous forest, though it has never been detected in Bosque Verde which is situated very close to human habitation.

Conservation Status and Threats: The collared peccary is listed globally as Least Concern but regionally in Ecuador it is Near Threatened. The collared peccary’s absence in Bosque Verde suggests that it requires isolated habitats which are declining throughout Ecuador.


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Dasypus novemcinctus

The nine-banded armadillo was photographed at only 2 camera sights both located in mountainous semi- deciduous forest. This burrowing insectivore was historically subjected to heavy poaching pressures but its populations are now recovering

Conservation Status and Threats: The nine-banded armadillo is listed as Least Concern due to its wide distribution and adaptability.



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Cebus albifrons aequatorialis

The Ecuadorian white-fronted capuchin is a subspecies of the white- fronted capuchin, isolated from other populations by the Andes. They are occasionally seen in the interior of La Cordillera del Balsamo in troops

Conservation Status and Threats: The Ecuadorian subspecies of the white- fronted capuchin is listed as Critically Endangered. Poaching and habitat loss has severely decimated there numbers and there current distribution is poorly understood.


Sechuran Fox

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Lycalopex sechurae

The Sechuran fox is a small fox adapted to dry climates. Its range is very restricted and it has since not been known to occur as far north as Manabi. The fox seems to prefer dry forest along disturbed edges.

Conservation Status and Threats: The Sichuan fox is listed globally as Near Threatened and regionally in Ecuador as Vulnerable due to its overall small population size, restricted range, and habitat loss throughout its range.


Future Research

The results of the camera-trapping project in La Cordillera del Balsamo so far have revealed that the coastal mountain range is a refuge for a great diversity and abundance of mammal species, many of which are either threatened or unstudied. In collaboration with Humboldt State University’s Department of Wildlife, we will expand our research objectives to address significant ecological questions such as habitat degradation as a function of mammalian diversity and abundance, the effect of increasing drought severity on mammalian survivorship, and individual species habitat preferences and ecological requirements. We will pair this data with reforestation efforts to establish bioconnectivity corridors throughout the mountain range to ensure the sustained growth and health of these species populations. La Cordillera del Balsamo supports large populations of threatened mammal species, and increased research and restoration efforts will help to secure these populations and encourage there expansion into newly regenerated habitats.