|Stingray. Photo Credit: Jensen Montambault |
"There are sting-ray here, and electric eels," Juan cheerfully informs me as we walk along the beach in El Playón camp.
Many of these dangerous animals cannot make it up the Salto Pará, so we were relatively unconcerned as we swam there.
As if to prove a point, one of the local boys in this community hauled up a foot wide stingray. They are not aggressive at all, but hide under the sand and it is easy to step on them by accident, so you have to do the "sting-ray shuffle" when you enter the water.
PEOPLE: Meet the enthusiastic Franco Provenzano, fish specialist.
TOOLS: Our pH meter tells us the Caura is slightly acidic.
SPECIES: Small toads can help determine the presence of contamination.
We solved the camp migration problem by going down the falls in a helicopter. We had to spend most of the day breaking the old camp and making a new one, but we went night fishing last night and pulled up a number of electric fish, catfish with sharp spines, and even the dreaded candiru (Vandellia cirrosa).
This fish usually lives in the sandy bottom and leaps up into a larger fish's gills to suck blood. Unfortunately this reaction can also be triggered by a release of ammonia in the water (such as urine), which makes the fish seek out the source! It's apparently an ugly and painful operation to remove it, so we are all being very careful.
— Reported by Jensen Montambault
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