Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things To Protect Rainforest

Extraordinary things are done by ordinary people, who have produced some important and exciting data on an area of remote and unresearched Amazon jungle, in an effort to save this pristine habitat - 19 June 2002

Biosphere Expeditions, an organisation that runs wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the Earth, placing ordinary people with no research experience alongside scientists who are at the forefront of conservation work, has taken two teams to work with scientists out in the Amazon rain forest gathering data on bird and mammal activity, to make a case for protection of this important habitat. The research took place in the Las Piedras river catchment of the Southern Amazon basin, two days travel by peke-peke boat from the settlement of Puerto Maldonaldo. This remote and un-researched area acts as a wildlife corridor linking the world famous parks of Manu and Tambopata. But since Las Piedras has no current government protection, it is under threat from loggers cashing in on the rising price of mahogany. The Biosphere Expeditions teams spent one month gathering baseline information on species in the area, population densities and feeding behaviours of birds and mammals. The teams collected data on over 100 different species of birds in the area, including the particular feeding habits of eight types of parrots amongst them three macaw species, including the fabulous Red and Green Macaws, which were seen in groups of up to 70 at one time ? an awesome natural spectacle. A large amount of mammal activity was also studied. Evidence was found of at least three species of cat, two kinds of peccary (the White lipped Peccary often seen in large herds of over 100), and a multitude of different primates. The expeditions` scientists, Juan-Julio Durand and Emma Hume, who both live year-round in the area, were particularly thrilled at the identification of the Monk`s Saki Monkey, a primate that has not previously been recorded in the area. Red howler Monkeys, found often on the trails, were also seen feeding from the clay at sites called colpas, where the animals of the rain forest go regularly to detoxify themselves by eating the clay, which is thought to neutralise the effects of toxins found naturally in un-ripened fruit in the forest.Having found such an abundance of wildlife over a relatively short period of study, the Biosphere Expeditions teams and affiliated scientists will continue to work in the area and promote Las Piedras as a site in need of urgent protection. As one team member, Linda Abram, has said; This is a very rare and worthwhile project ? with all the present destruction of forests worldwide it is crucial that work like this continues so that we can protect as much of this incredible habitat as possible.Biosphere Expedition are now looking to recruit research teams for 2003. See http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org.For general information on Biosphere Expeditions and its conservation work, please visit http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org or contact the UK office at Sprat`s Water, near Carlton Colville, The Broads National Park, Suffolk NR33 8BP, UK. Tel. +44-1502-583085. Fax +44-1502-587414. E-mail info@biosphere-expeditions.org

4th July 2014