Last night, after looking and not finding any anteaters, we decided that we would try again today. Guilherme and Isis, two wildlife researchers, are planning a search first thing this morning, and we are joining them. Early morning is a great time of the day here. Even when temperatures become uncomfortably hot in the afternoon, morning is still cool. The animals are out (except for anteaters and tapirs of course). Within minutes of leaving the ranch, we see otters, hyacinths, toucans, capybara, caracara, and even find feral pigs in Alexine's traps she set on the neighboring farm. Maybe this will even be our lucky day, and Jeff's wish of seeing a tapir will finally come true. The morning rounds yielded no anteater bleeps on the radio telemetry receiver, but we did have a fruitful and very enjoyable morning. After lunch we'll have a horseback ride, and later a canoe trip is planned.
The weather here is amazing. It can be 90 degrees one minute, then it clouds over and
||Silly thought – when have I ever been the highest point at 5'3"?|
the temperature drops 20 degrees or more. Just as we were getting onto the horses, we can tell the rain is coming. The cloudy skies though make for perfect riding weather. About a half an hour into the ride, it begins to rain. Now this is a real Brazilian Pantaneiro ride. Thunder, black clouds and lightning fill the skies – I look around to make sure I am not the highest point in the landscape. Silly thought – when have I ever been the highest point at 5'3"? In any case, I didn't have to worry. 6' 4" Jeff does however, while sitting on the biggest horse as well.
Even with the storm we see some new animals – a yellow or 6 banded armadillo, a red brocket deer, and a huge tegu lizard. And of course, we see capybara. All the animals appear surprised to find us out in the rain, and run away quickly at the first safe moment. On the way back, as the temperature drops, I get goose bumps; aren't we supposed to be in the tropics?
We decide to wait awhile for the boat trip, so I go up and take a nice warm shower. Not long after getting out of the shower, Jeff knocks on my door to announce the boat ride is leaving. All clean and dry, I decide to take a chance of missing an animal sighting, and stay here. I hope I won't regret this decision!
ACTIVITY: Try tracking species in your own neighborhood
||Each project will aid in the success of not only the Pantanal/Cerrado Corridor, but related projects and animal conservation efforts around the world.|
This is our last night at Fazenda Rio Negro. Tomorrow we are off to Emas National Park, where the Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks support a crowned eagle project, and an evaluation of the area's avifauna (bird life). Wow! There is so much conservation work going on in this amazing region. In talking with Reinaldo Lourival, the Director of Conservation International's Pantanal Office, I find out that this is an important part of the plan. He hopes all the research will eventually be integrated – to be of greatest benefit to Brazil and conservation.
PARTNERS: Learn more about CI's partners, including Anheuser-Busch
The Fazenda Rio Negro is a big part of that goal. Researchers, teachers, students, and Earthwatch volunteers are all based from this ecotourism ranch. They discuss their projects, share information, and learn from each other. Much of this science will be utilized for planning and implementation of the Corridor Project. In fact, Reinaldo used the money gifted by the Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks to help fill some of the gaps of knowledge regarding local wildlife and the environment. Each project, from the monitoring of rehabilitated and released blue-front parrots, to collecting data on hyacinth nesting and chick development, to learning more about the little known giant anteater, will aid in the success of not only the Pantanal/Cerrado Corridor, but related projects and animal conservation efforts around the world.
By the way, while Jeff was out in the boat and I was in my room writing this journal, one of the volunteers returning from the Fazenda saw "our" tapir. ARRRGHHHHHHH!
<< Day 6 Dispatch | Day 7 Dispatch >>