Panguana was founded in 1968 by German zoologists Dr. Maria and Prof. Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke in an entirely pristine part of the Peruvian lowland rainforest in the upper Amazon basin. Today it is headed by the founders’ daughter, Dr. Juliane Diller, who works at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich, Germany (ZSM). This oldest biological research station in Peru carries the local name of the Undulated Tinamou, a partridge-sized bird that may look inconspicuous but is very characteristic for the region.
Panguana is located at approx. 230 m elevation on the Río Yuyapichis, a 40 m wide tributary of the Río Pachitea, one of the major sources of the Amazon River. Yuyapichis is a word from Quechua, the ancient Inka language, and means ‘deceitful river’, referring to its sudden and strong rises in water level. The Yuyapichis originates c. 40 km away in the up to 2,400 m tall Sira Mountains, an isolated range that runs parallel to the eastern flanks of the Andes.
The earliest housing at the station were simple huts with roofs of palm fronds as built by the rainforest’s indigenous people, and daily life was limited to the bare essentials. Thanks to a most generous sponsor, the Ludwig Stocker Hofpfisterei in Munich, a wholesale bakery company with ecology-conscious operations, the station’s infrastructure has been improved significantly since 2008. In parallel, the Panguana area could be enlarged from 180 to 950 hectares (0.7 to 3.7 sq. miles) through purchases of adjacent parcels of land that had been offered for sale