Touch the Jungle is a rain forest wildlife and habitat protection
project sponsored by the US nonprofit Earthways Foundation.
Touch The Jungle's work focusing on the
Chocó Bio-region of Ecuador, South America.
The main interests of this project are:
- Protect threatened rainforest habitats
- Protect, rescue, and rehabilitate native animals.
- Empower local people to preserve the rainforest and protect
These goals are interdependent. Wildlife cannot survive without
habitat. The habitat cannot survive if the local people don't
protect it. The local people cannot survive without wildlife and
the forest. Yet extreme poverty and lack of jobs cause many communities
to accept the offers of loggers and miners just to provide their
families with the necessities of life. If we want local people
to support and protect the rainforest and its wildlife, then we
must support them. This Touch The Jungle does, by supporting community
projects such as health care and education, and assisting them
in developing environmentally-friendly sources of income such
Since 1995, Touch The Jungle has been working with Playa de Oro,
a hunter-gatherer community in Ecuador's Chocó
Rainforest. This village has designated all of its 25,000 acres
of primary rainforest as a reserve for margays and other endangered
jungle cat species. In exchange, Earthways and Touch The Jungle
have supported the community's low-impact ecotourism project.
This project, which is now entirely in the hands of the local
people, involves hosting visitors from all over the world, so
that they may experience and better understand both the rainforest
and those who live there.
In 2007, Touch The Jungle expanded our efforts into the Intag
region of Ecuador. Still located in the Chocó
Bio-region, climbing in altitude into the Intag area, the Rainforest
transits into Cloud Forest and the Tropical Andes. The various
communities of Intag have created eco-friendly economic alternatives,
such as organic coffee and other agricultural products, handicrafts,
alternative energy, and eco-tourism in order to preserve their
pristine environment as an alternative against environmentally
destructive activities such as mining. Touch The Jungle assists
those communities in these eco-friendly projects in various ways
to help protect the habitat and wildlife. We include visits to
several locations in the Intag region during our group tours to
support the community ecotourism efforts. We have built a wildlife
rescue center located near Apuela to assist injured or ill wildlife
to return to the wild. We assist farmers with nuisance wildlife
that destroy crops or steal chickens to help the farmers and wildlife
live cooperatively. In cooperation with a local grass-roots organization,
DECOIN, we are supporting other Intag Valley environmental and
education programs. These include helping build schools and providing
needed supplies to communities that are working hard to preserve
their forests, watersheds, and wildlife. In 2014, Touch The Jungle
built a high school and vocational trade school near our wildlife
rescue center in the Apuela for the local young people to earn
not only a high school diploma, but a useful trade as well, such
as organic agriculture, animal husbandry and watershed management.
Everyone is invited to visit our projects in Ecuador either during
your own independent travels or on one of our group tours. Your
visit helps support the communities we work with by bringing work
and income to their individual community projects.