— Gary Snyder
Free attractions abound in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. One of my favorites is Guayaquil’s Parque Historico, full of plants and animals.
Parque Historico (Historic Park) is a relaxing retreat in the big city. The park has three distinct areas – wildlife, historic architecture, and traditional lifestyle. Today I focus only on wildlife.
The park’s plants and animals are all native to Ecuador. Some animals injured in the wild find homes here.
Meandering through the park, pausing frequently to listen to the birds is a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon. Raised walkways provide incredible proximity for visitors.
|Visitors are close to nature on raised walkways
Let’s meet some residents!
Fourty-seven species of parrots have been recorded in Ecuador. In Parque Historico, there are a large number of parrots. Injured birds live in cages until they are healthy enough to be released.
|Caged Parrots not ready for wild
When released, the birds frequently stay inside the park since the conditions are ideal for them.
|Parrots free to roam anywhere
Many stay in Parque Historico
|Man made birdbaths ensure water is available
Carnivorous animals are not allowed to go anywhere they want in the park lest they harm the other occupants. Medium sized spotted cats, ocelots are found throughout Central and South America. Too injured or tame to be released into the wild, these ocelots live in captivity.
Ocelots in the park are in a huge metal enclosure made to look like tree branches. I was lucky that one of them walked in front of me.
|Ocelot walking in enclosure
In tropical and subtropical Americas, the collared peccary eat cactus, vegetables and fruits. They sleep in burrows, caves and under logs or tree roots.
A gray-green small to medium sized crocodile, the spectacled caiman is found in Central and northern South American wetlands and rivers. The ones in the park hang out in a man made pond.
The largest and most powerful raptor in the Americas is the harpy eagle with a wingspan up to 224 cm (7 ft 4 in). They are threatened by humans destroying their natural habitat in low lying rainforests.
Multiple countries have breeding and monitoring programs in an effort to increase the population.
The first South American captive-born harpy eagle was in Parque Historico May 6, 2002. They only reproduce once every couple of years and have one baby at a time. Re population is slow work with this bird!
|This harpy eagle, by it’s nest, is more than two feet tall
Thanks for taking this tour with me through Parque Historico. In addition to the animals you met today, there are many other residents who did not make an appearance today, including spider monkeys, sloths, ducks, and deer.
Is there a captive breeding program near you for endangered animals?
Click here to read more about Guayaquil, Ecuador.