June 19, 2013

A 'Faena' - Community Teamwork To Rebuild A Roof

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How is it possible to maintain such large lodges in the middle of the Amazon? A recent roof renovation at Posada Amazonas Lodge highlighted the incredible process.

The "faena," community-organized work project, to replace the roof.

It all revolved around a "faena" in which community members donate their time to work on a project that is for the good of the community. Posada Amazonas is managed by and co-owned by the native community of Infierno, and employs many individuals from the community, so this roof renovation was directed by the board of the community.

The turn out was remarkable - 73 people, 15kg of nails, and 1,500 crishneja leaves, the palm from which the roofing is woven. 

There are as many men as there are women. Women are mainly in charge of carrying the leaves from the port to the house that is to be remodeled. Men dedicate themselves to the installation of the roof and finally, the women clean the rooms and the work areas, and they prepare the communal meal and the refreshments. first day involved removing the old roof and replacing half of it, the second day finished the replacement and sealed the edges, and the third day was the clean-up.


On the first day, the 100% of the dry leaves were removed and half of the newroof was installed. On the second day, the other half was installed. Edges and unions were sealed and finally, the third day was cleaning and preparation day, to leave everything ready.



In order to cover the new roof, they must begin from the bottom up and from left to right. A row of about 20 people is formed, each one holding a bundle of crishneja leaf. Upon a shout or a whistle signal from one of them, they must begin to place and nail the leaves in order, making sure one bundle is beneath the other. They continue to the following row and so on and so forth until the top is reached.


From us at Rainforest Expeditions, a huge thank you to the Community of Infierno for their hard work in keeping the Posada Amazonas Lodge well maintained and beautiful!



June 13, 2013

How Many Tapirs Visited This Claylick In 24 Hours?

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A recent study on the Tambopata region showed that we are truly in a Tapir paradise, with numbers that have recovered from any hunting or habitat disturbance of the past due to well protected habitat over these last few decades.

A tapir crossing the Tambopata. Image by Jeff Cremer.

While reports on recovered numbers are always a good sign, what I didn't know was how many there actually were here, or if it would be difficult to get some glimpses of tapirs in the wild. Tapirs are notoriously difficult to see, as one tapir researcher I know who has spent over a year in the field has only ever seen one in person!

I was curious to know how many tapirs we have in our area, so I set up a camera trap near the Colorado Claylick at the Tambopata Research Center to take photos of any passing mammals. While the claylick is known for its spectacular displays of macaws feeding on the salty clay during the rainy season, it also has several heavily used game trails leading to it which suggest that mammals are also extensively walking into the claylick to get in on the action. I hoped some of those mammals would be tapirs.

I expecting maybe one, but what I got was far from that. Here's an example of a fairly typical night at the claylick.*

peru tambopata
At 2:35am 
tambopata peru
Right behind him at 2:37am

tambopata peru
A bit late on the action, 3:35am

Some tapir bum, 7:05pm.

peru rainforest camera trap
Getting the night started, a tapir nose, 7:55pm

Either a paca or a baby tapir... 10:55pm


There are a maximum of six tapirs, and minimum of three in these photos. Regardless of the final amount, this much tapir activity consistently in one area is very impressive, and demonstrates the importance of the claylick for our non-avian neighbors living in the rainforest around us.

*Note- while it may appear these are multiple pictures of the same individual, there are additional photos showing each one leave the camera's view (and not return), suggesting they are all different. I simply selected the photos which give the best view of the beasts.




June 09, 2013

This UNBELIEVABLE Moth Cocoon

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While Destin from Smarter Every Day was visiting us here in Tambopata, we came across one of the most incredible examples of art in nature we've ever seen, a cocoon of a urodid moth.

Check out his video on the discovery, and look for the high-resolution images below:



This 'open network' cocoon structure is quite different from other moth cocoons in that it only partially encloses the pupa. This allows for more airflow over the pupa, possibly helping prevent fungus and mold from being able to grow on it.




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