Two weeks to go until the start of our Amazon biodiversity expedition to Peru. Next week, Malika Fettak, your expedition leader will be off a few days ahead of you to set things up.
The weather in Iquitos at the moment is damp and hovering around the twenties (Centigrade). High twenties during the day, low twenties at night. Your scientist Alfredo Dosantos is at base already, preparing the research and maps for you.
Where we will work is shown below.
Group 1’s task will be opening and exploring more trails so that we can increase our sampling area and cover as many of the big squares (quadrats) around base as possible with camera and track traps, and visual encounter surveys on foot in the jungle and in wobbly canoes along the waterways, recording species as we come across them and hoping to catch the very illusive ones in our low-tech track traps and our high-tech camera versions. All in an effort to show with hard data how biodiverse this place is, and therefore worth protecting.
But beware! Monkeys and jaguars will not be falling into your lap, despite what TV may want you to believe (and what took months to film). The forest is full of life, true, but it is also full of leaves that swallow almost everything a few paces away and reduce encounters to fleeting glimpses of monkeys in the canopy and black shadows streaking across dark green canvas. You’ll hear things before you see them – if you see them – and there will be a cacophony of unfamiliar sounds, and smells and sights, dulled by the constant assault of green on your eyes.
If you come with the expectation of entering into a zoo full of animals on silver plates, you will be disappointed. If you come to soak up the wonders you will hear yet not see and to just be amongst life in one of the most biodiverse spots in this green sea of our blue planet, you won’t be. Come with all your senses open (and perhaps even leave your cameras at base unless you are a lens hunter of the small wonders the jungle has to offer). And come in the spirit of David Henry Thoreau who said “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Malika and Alfredo will be in touch from base a few days before the off. The forest of hidden wonders awaits!