The End of an Era

After over 6 years of intensive research and community development work in and around the Yachana Reserve, GVI Amazon is coming to a close. We have finished our final research project (look forward to our Road Effects paper, coming soon!) and are handing over the project to our partner, The Yachana Foundation. They will continue to maintain and monitor the reserve, using it as an hands-on science education center for students -- we're very excited to see what fabulous things this next generation of scientists find! For more detail on GVI Amazon's closure, and our accomplishments over the years, please read on...
GVI Amazon Closure Statement

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Peccary Chase!

On leaving the clay licks Hector Vargos (a local conservationist/guide whose island reserve we visited earlier in the expedition), led us on a walk through some trails within the Yasuni rainforest. It’s always a learning experience with Hector, along the way he pointed out a number of plants such as curare vine (Chondrodendron tomentosum), which is derived from a hardwood tree and used as the main ingredient for poison on arrows used with blow pipes. Hector suddenly stopped in his stride. He heard the chomping and grinding of teeth from a large group of peccaries very close by to where the group was! Hector made a call to draw them towards the EMs and then without warning set off at speed to try to catch a glimpse of them, leaving the EMs in his wake trying to keep up! The peccaries didn’t hang around, but Hector turned off the trail and led the EMs cross country in hot pursuit. Hector and Mauro, one of the Yachana graduates who stay with GVI, were in the lead. They kept up with the group of peccaries and were quick enough to glimpse those peccaries at the tail end. Most of the EMs were too far behind see them, but none of them could mistake the grunting and chomping of teeth and the snapping of branches as the group scarpered. The peccaries are not a pleasant smelling bunch and their odour was distinct; a mix of dirt, meat and spices – a potent, heady mixture.

When the chase was up Hector led the EMs back to the trail and explained that the group encountered were actually White-lipped Peccaries (Tayassu pecari) who can travel in groups of up to 400 and a single individual can weigh up to 80 kilos. Even in a National Park as big as Yasuni, finding a group of that size and so close to the trail was a real treat and an experience to remember for all the EMs.