Thursday, April 25, 2013

La Selva de Tambopata

About ten hours outside of Cuzco and a few kilometers boat ride down the Rio de Madre Dios you can find a reserve called Tambopata.  This region is a protected area which is lush with animals and plants found deep in the jungle and it seems to me that every minute would bring something new and interesting to life.

Victor and the boat man.

Rio de Madre Dios (river of the mother god)

A very rare sighting of a three meter Cayman in the early morning sun.  

This guy is my favorite monkey.. it took lots of will power not to stuff him in my backpack and feed him fruit juice for the rest of his monkey life.

Sometimes we see ourselves in the eyes of small primates and sometimes we see them in our own eyes.  I couldnt help the thought that we always compare them to our own species when perhaps we should compare ourselves to them.

A Ficus tree.  This tree is found all over Tambopata.  It is a type of strangler parasite which begins from brid droppings and completely surrounds another previously existing tree and takes many decades to completely overcome its host.

Me and Victor.

These thorns are used by native people for hunting.  They are dipped on the backs of poisonous frogs and used in blow guns to hunt for monkeys and other animals above.

The Walking Palm will begin its life in one place and over many years ¨walk¨towards openings of light in other parts of the jungle.

The Army Ant has been used for many years by local people to treat small lacerations.  Its pincers are placed into the open wound and its body is carefully removed leaving something like a staple to keep the wound closed.

Jaguar paw prints..  they do not come near humans but these tracks are reminders that they are not far.

Sleeping.. dreaming..

This monkey is an orphan.  Although it is not the same species as the Howler Monkey shown above, it is treated as an adopted daughter.

Further down the river..

A canopy bridge 42 meters high.

Lalo, the Howler Monkey.  He is a rescue monkey and was taken in by the people of the reserve for two years.  He was released into the jungle on my last night in Tambopata where he will live for one year in a safe zone before being readjusted into the mainland jungle.

My little buddy.. I love this photo.

Pepe.  He speaks three languages, Spanish, English and Bird.

A termite nest.  Something interesting about termites is that they never eat the wood from the same tree where they build their nests, they gather wood from trees nearby.

Sunset on the Madre Dios

Yellow Mackaws.  These birds are grouped by their colors and diets which are both determined by the types of minerals which they gather from the trees.

Further down the river..

In the company of friendly Brazilians.

This picture needs to be zoomed in on to be appreciated.  It is a mother sloth carrying her young on her stomach.

I dont know what this bird is but it is really cool.

A few more kilometers down the Madre Dios we encountered a small army of some 200 small monkeys migrating from one edge of the jungle to another.

Worker ants.

Three freindly people from Brazil, Marzo, Patricia, and Ana with Enrique from Mexico in the middle.

No words can explain this.

I call him Moose Pig.

Lazy Lalo sunbathing.

This zipline is ridiculously high.  I lost a shoe on landing.

Victor enticing a mother Tarantula from her hole.  She had two young Tarantulas with her.

The spines of this tree protect it from monkeys and woodpeckers.

Fire Ants.  You can always find a tree full of Fire Ants because it is alone for about one meter in diameter.  This is because the ants naturally eat any young saplings growing near their host tree.  

An abandoned Ayahuasca lodge built by shamans.

Releasing Lalo into his new home.  He wasnt very keen on leaving but the safety of this small island should give him strength to survive on the other side of the river.  The island has no predators and is teeming with vegetation.