Thanks to support from Douglas Wilson, this Rainforest Trust-site provides protection for highly threatened birds, empowers a local community and prevents logging that would have decimated a vital rainforest habitat.
For centuries, the small village of San Jose de Uchupiamonas, nestled in the Sadiri Mountain of Bolivia, sat isolated in the vast rainforest, surrounded by one of the most mega biodiverse protected areas on the planet. The rainforest supports over 400 bird species, including the Vulnerable Military Macaw. Groups of Vulnerable White-lipped Peccaries are frequently seen in the area, as are Jaguars and Pumas. The jungle breathes life with the symphony of owls, tanagers, tyrannulets, macaws and many others, making it a paradise for bird watchers.
In the late 1990s, the Bolivian government created a 60-mile road through this lush rainforest habitat of Sadiri to the village. Early on in its existence, the road through the rainforest and foothill forest of the mountain put enormous pressure on the delicate forest ecosystem and spurred a rise in the unsustainable logging of the area’s large and valuable Mahogany trees.
In an effort to avert this crisis, Rainforest Trust partnered with the Bolivian organization Pueblo Nuevo to investigate options with the community. The area’s spectacular natural beauty and abundance of biodiversity led the groups to determine that ecotourism was a feasible long-term strategy for conservation in this region.
In 2008, the Uchupiamonas community conceived an idea for Sadiri Lodge to create a touristic sanctuary, with the aim to save the forest and prevent proposed logging projects. The name Sadiri is a derivation from the word S’adiri, which means in the local indigenous language Tacana “the old resting place,” making reference to its location at 2,953 feet, just at the boundary between the Andean highlands and the Amazonian flatlands.
Rainforest Trust’s partner began the tourism development project, and in 2010 the indigenous village of San Jose de Uchupiamonas voted overwhelmingly in favor of a final plan to protect a wide swath of the forest they control by creating a Tourist Refuge (a strict protected area). Rainforest Trust’s partner completed Sadiri Lodge in 2013 and saved over 62,000 acres of rainforest from logging.
Since its establishment, guests and bird watchers have been flocking to Sadiri Lodge from all corners of the world. Some of the most popular wildlife to observe are six different species of macaws, including colorful Blue-and-yellow Macaws, rare Scarlet Macaws and noisy Military Macaws. Visitors can see nine owl species, such as the majestic Rufescent Screech-owl, Subtropical Pygmy-owl and Amazonian Pygmy-owl. There is also a rich variety of endemic birds such as the Rufous-crested Coquette, Yungas Tyrannulet and Emerald Toucanet.
Rainforest Trust President and avid bird watcher, Dr. Robert S. Ridgely, had the privilege of visiting Sadiri Lodge and explained, “If you are fortunate enough to have found your way to Sadiri, it´s safe to say you are in for a fabulous time in some of the most beautiful and pristine lower foothill forest anywhere. The place abounds with birds, from minuscule coquettes to huge and noisy macaws…If you are not a birder, you may become one!…They have created the mecca, and all for the benefit of the indigenous San Jose de Uchupiamonas Community.”
To learn how to support areas that are vital for threatened species and communities, please visit the Conservation Action Fund.