I lived and grew up in the country. Towards 1990, when I began to acquire memory of my actions, we lived with the family in the Fatima Center, a 28-hectare farm known in the country as a pioneering experience in the conservation of tropical humid forest. From the steps of the house, my sister and I would often look towards the famous "blue mountains," named by my father for a peculiar coloration. Decades later, during the university years of my field biologist career, we would call the mountains the subtropical Andes, part of the Abitahua Protected Forest of the Llanganates Sanday Ecological Corridor, a transition area that connects the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes with the lowlands of the Amazon.
At home, a number of stories and legends were told about these mythical mountains, which many have tried to access, guided by the fables of pre- and post-Inca treasures, as well as their wild fauna and flora. But at that time, and based on my simple understanding as a young boy, few people had actually explored the area — or at least few people had told me about it.
Over the years, several biologists and researchers joined the historical legions of expedition members who entered its jungles to discover some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet. It is an area whose biogeographic characteristics have given rise to a great variety of habitat types and microclimates with very high biodiversity and endemism of species, as well as abundant bodies of water: springs, streams and rivers that descend through the foothills.
Read the full story in Spanish on the El Espectador website.