Reality Capture for Conservation: Maquipucuna Andean Bear Reserve

October 4, 2023
Reality Capture
Mapping a cloud forest to help study and preserve the Andean Spectacled Bear

The Choco-Andino rain forest of western Ecuador is home to the Andean Spectacled Bear. Habitat loss has put them on the vulnerable species list.

For 30+ years now, the Maquipucuna Reserve has worked to restore forest and habitat for these cool creatures. Researchers from around the world have come to study the wildlife here, and they host nature lovers of all types at rustic lodge.

Recently I did some mapping of a section of the forest of particular interest - an area that had seen substantial activity this season. The bears forage high in the canopy, and leave a mark on the trees - they tear off branches and throw them to th ground for easier feeding. The team is planning to leverage aerial maps to identify and track activity over time.

In addition to mapping, I have used the reserve as a place to experiment with 360 ground capture techniques. While not fully part of the conservation tool kit yet, its my vision that these tools that combine data from above and below the canopy could prove valuable for ongoing efforts to preserve and restore these vital areas.M


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