The Mazar Wildlife Reserve (MWR), or Reserva de Vida Silvestre Mazar in Spanish, is a beautiful and biologically rich place, and forms an integral part of the alpaca operation run by Stuart and Patricia.  The MWR occupies altitudes from 2800 m (9200’) to 3700 m (12,200’), and includes two principal habitats:  tropical Andean montane forest and, above the tree line, an open grassland called páramo.  The reserve’s forested areas are some of the most diverse for their altitude in Ecuador, with 60 recorded tree species in only one hectare (2.4 acres).  The native wildlife for this habitat is intact, and actively protected. The array of species includes deservedly charismatic mammals and birds, many threatened or endangered:  Andean bear, puma, mountain tapir, tigrillo (a spotted forest cat), Andean fox, coati, quetzal, crescent-faced antpitta and golden-plumed parakeet.  Inventories of fauna and flora are underway in conjunction with the Cordillera Tropical foundation (www.cordilleratropical.org), as are hydrologic and vegetation-change studies. 


The periphery of the MWR is agricultural.  Local inhabitants grow corn, beans, squash and potatoes, and have cattle, sheep and pigs.  When they need more land for crops or pastures they fell forest or plow páramo, but these practices are diminishing as conservation of wild habitats begins to generate new income sources.  Some pastures and páramo grasslands now host native alpacas instead of European farm animals.  Here are a few photos (by Stuart White, unless where noted) of this special place .

Mazar Wildlife Reserve and its Neighbors