There can’t be many people who aren’t enthralled by the Amazon. There’s its vastness, its exotic wildlife, undiscovered tribes, Inca gold and an indefinable magical ambience. It’s a place of adventures, mysteries, lost cities, Amazonian warriors, fearsome creatures, magical cures and despotic invaders.
Not everything you hear about the Amazon is true – but most of it is.
I’m on a conservation project with the environmental charity Earthwatch. We are surveying pink river dolphin, macaw, caiman, giant otter, monkey and fish – all key indicator species in our conservation program. Some indicate the health of aquatic and terrestrial habitats, others the impact of hunting, fishing, logging and oil/gas exploration.
The humidity is close to 90%, clothing is soaked and rivulets of sweat, unable to evaporate, run down into boots and drip off extremities.
We spent all day looking for the rare red uakari monkey, they’re constantly on the move but we eventually find them or perhaps they find us. High up in the tree canopy the troop stops to observe us, some turn their backs and show us their stumpy tails or maybe they’re mooning? Others come down for a closer look at the strange non-arboreal, multicoloured, primate troop and a few lob sticks at us.