Famous Trinidadian ecolodge permanently closes


The famous ecolodge at Asa Wright Nature Centre, on the island of Trinidad, has shut its doors permanently to visitors.

A popular destination with visiting birders from around the world, including the UK, the Centre is located on a former cocoa, coffee and citrus plantation, and opened in December 1967. Situated in the Arima Valley, in the north of the island, it is one of the most biodiverse areas of the West Indies, with more than 250 species of bird recorded.

The Centre has gradually expanded since opening more than 50 years ago and now preserves almost 600 ha of primary forest. It has long been renowned for its easy-to-access colony of the remarkable Oilbird, while other highlights in the valley include Bearded Bellbird and Tufted Coquette.

An array of spectacular speciesincluding Green Honeycreeper, visit the feeders at Asa Wright Nature Centre on a daily basis (Paul Cools).

However, funding problems introduced by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have meant that the lodge has been forced to close for good. The Centre and its protected lands remain in existence, although are currently still closed.

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The Centre said in a statement on its website: "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asa Wright Nature Centre has been closed to visitors for several months and the ecolodge has permanently ceased operations. However, the not-for-profit Trust remains in existence and it will continue managing its protected areas as a wildlife sanctuary.

"We will continue with thoughtful consideration for the health and well-being of our visitors, staff, and local communities, in compliance with guidelines established by our Ministry of Health regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, and thus remain closed until further notice.

"During the interim, we will be working towards preserving the wildlife sanctuary and engaging in critical conservation work. As we have no revenue to sustain these important activities your assistance is critical – please help support our work now with your donation."

Find out more about Asa Wright Nature Centre at asawright.org. To make a donation to the upkeep of the Centre while it remains closed, please click here.

The ecologe's balcony offers superb views down the forested Arima Valley (janinephoto / flickr).