From our conservation holiday volunteering with jaguars, pumas, ocelots, primates and other species in the Peru Amazon jungle (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/amazonia)

This year’s Amazonia expedition has come to an end.

Highlights of the last couple of days are sightings of a tamandua (big anteater) sleeping on a tree, a coati, a huge group of perhaps 70 peccaries, crossing our survey path right in front of us. How exciting! During the review Alfredo added that he had not seen “the big” peccaries for a year or so.

The cameras took a few good pictures of red squirrel, tyra, collared peccary and tapir. Also a great series of “cappuchinos” – brown capuchin monkeys. To everyone’s amusement, Suzie renamed the species earlier this week. And finally, a cat. No, not the big one, but its little brother. A margay passed by one of the cameras set on the trail to Yarina lake documented in a series of three very good shots. As promised, they will all be shared once I’ve made it back home to my desk.

By the end of two expedition weeks, the species summary sheet is impressively long. Recordings (sightings & tracks) are of a total of 32 different mammal species, not to mention a great variety of birds, frogs, reptiles and insects. Ten different monkey species were spotted, one of which was seen for the very first time on expedition since the project started four years ago: the rare red uakari monkey. From the number of sightings – not individuals – saddleback tamarin is the most common species in the area (16 groups) followed by ‘cappuchino’ 😉 and squirrel monkey (13 & 12 groups). More details of all results will be published in the expedition report.

The total mileage walked is an impressive 160 km of forest trails on foot and about 60 km by canoe paddling up and down the Tahuayo river. Of these 57.27 km are actual foot and 30 km are canoe transect surveys. Statistically the sightings will be related to ten different cells of 2 x 2 km including seasonally flooded forest habitat, palm swamps, higher and lower restinga and terra firme.

A big thank you goes to the expedition team for performing the daily tasks enthusiastically and with great endurance. You never faltered – neither heat, nor humidity, nor tiredness, blisters or whatever held you back from going out twice a day, bringing back to base datasheets with valuable information. A special thanks goes to the local field assistants Gabriel, Julio, Manuel and Oscar for contributing their jungle skills and knowledge, whether it was by guiding teams on jungle trails, hearing, smelling, spotting and identifying animals, driving the boats safely through a labyrinth of logs and fallen trees, or paddling and stearing the canoes.

Thank you, Alfredo, for setting up an exemplary partnership between foreign researchers and local people. Even more for sharing your great knowledge, answering many, many questions and guiding teams day & night on “your patch”. Thank you Andy and Fredrik for joining us and multiplying the scientific input, not only of birds and frogs.

You all have put lots in – not only time & money, but also skills, good chats, ideas and comments. I trust you got lots out in return and enjoyed the project and our time at the ARC as much as I did.

All the best

Malika

P.S. Please don’t forget to share your pictures (instructions to be mailed soon).

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From our conservation holiday volunteering with jaguars, pumas, ocelots, primates and other species in the Peru Amazon jungle.

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