August 24, 2012

A New Face Around the Lodges...

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It’s my first morning at Posada Amazonas, and I just spent two hours watching a family of endangered Giant River Otters hunt as 3 species of macaws soared overhead. Not a bad start.

That is one popular otter.

For the next two months, I will have the pleasure of contributing blogs, tweets, and facebook updates for Rainforest Expeditions as I do research and explore the area surrounding the three lodges that the company manages in Tambopata. I’m not even a day in at my stay and I’ve already seen some of the most remarkable plants and animals the Amazon has to offer. And I'm pretty stoked.

As a biologist, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the field on conservation research projects throughout Latin America (find out more about me here). This has allowed me to see the diversity that the Amazon has to offer, both in the organisms, in the landscapes, and in the extent it has remained ‘untouched.’ I’m always quick to tell a tourist in an area like this how lucky they are to see these incredible creatures- so much of the Amazon isn’t like this anymore. Monkeys and jaguars have been hunted out, big trees have been cut down, and incredible cultures have been tarnished.

Additionally, I’ve seen the bad side of ecotourism. From uninvolved indigenous, to poor waste and forest management, to keeping wild pets; not all ecotourism companies get it right or do it sustainably. During my time here, I’ll be sharing stories from Rainforest Expeditions’ programs and highlight some of the great ways they keep it clean and sustainable.

Showing off a red-tailed boa found on a night survey.

Most of my posts will be about the forest. From the absurdly knowledgeable guides, I’ve already learned that macaw colors can be hard to see in the sky because they are a pigment, unlike many birds which are light refractant; that over 20,000 giant river otters were killed over two decades for their pelts, making the population dangerously low and nearly absent from the actual riversides (they’re now generally isolated to oxbow lakes); and how the Brazil Nut is harvested, just to name a few. Time will only tell what the actual forest will be able to teach me during my research.

I hope you check back on the blog and please feel free to ask me any questions you may have about the programs or the forest. Also, if you come as a tourist while I’m here, come say hello!

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