Everyone on the team worked very hard over the last few days walking transect trails in the morning and doing canoe river surveys or track trap checking in the afternoon. I would never have thought we would beg for rain, but the river level has dropped constantly to an alarming level. And as it drops, the river reveals its secrets: logs and fallen trees making boat rides difficult if not impossible. Keep your fingers crossed that rain comes soon for some relief not only from the heat.
We exchanged SD cards of all ten camera traps yesterday, also checking battery levels and functions. The cameras are all good for working day & night out in the field until the end of the expedition. Alfredo, Fredrik, Gabriel and Anh opted in to do the long walk to terra firme to also check on both cameras set in the most remote area of the study site. My guess is that they were keen because they were also secretly hoping to come across the troup of red uakaris again on the way. Surprisingly they were sighted once more within the trail grid on Thursday. Neil & Doug accompanied by Gabriel were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the rare monkey species that only occurs in the northeast of Peru and some isolated pockets in Brazil.
Many more fascinating species were encountered during the first expedition slot. As regards the expeditions’ target species, results so far are sightings of nine out of fourteen present primate species, tracks of jaguar and jaguarundi, collared and white-lipped peccary, paca and red brocket deer. Other mammal sightings include tayra, three-toed sloth, river otter, red squirrel, pigmy squirrel and armadillo. And, of course, the ever so cute yellow-crowned brush-tailed tree rat!
Overall the teams have walked 44 km of transect trails in four survey days, the total walking distance is about double of it. 40 km of transect were surveyed from the canoes thanks to the local field guides Gabriel, Julio, Mario & Oscar paddling and steering the canoes up and down the Tahuayo river. Nine cells of the study area have been covered each measuring 2 x 2 km.
Anh, Ed and Neil (all staying for the second slot) & I said goodbye to Ana, Brenda, Doug, Imogen, Katie, Lanse & Mary today. Thank you everyone for coping with the heat & humidity, blisters and putting sweat into the project. You have helped collecting valuable data that are slowly but constantly adding up to a precious knowledge base of the area and its wildlife.