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

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Weekend Stroll

Sunday in the jungle! Two eager volunteers and Chris got up three hours before everyone else and ate some quick pancakes before heading out for the daily pitfall run. During a two week period, 12 arrays that include 48 pitfall traps, dotted throughout primary and secondary rainforest in the Yachana Reserve, need to be checked daily.

The volunteers were to check the six traps furthest away, which are the toughest to reach due to muddy, hilly, slippery terrain, but definitely worth the six hour long trek. Little did they know they were in for a lot more than frogs this morning. After heading into Frontier trail they came across thousands of army ants – so many it looked like the trail was moving, causing them to take a short detour around them. They could hear lots of ant bird calls and sure enough, looking around, they saw lots skitting in and out of the trees, catching insects chased out by the ants. There was a terrified spider in the midst of the swarm, frantically running around but they didn’t wait long enough to see its inevitable fate.

After finding a couple of frogs in the first two arrays, the group came across a bucket with a Forest Whiptail (Kentropyx pelviceps) in the same bucket as a large black scorpion. After realizing that, amazingly, the lizard was still alive they tried to rescue it, whilst it frantically ran around the bucket. After a few minutes they finally caught it let it out, then cautiously scooped out the scorpion. Between the next two arrays they heard an enormous tree fall not far away which sounded like a mixture of a whip cracking and thunder. The three were startled, but they speedily continued. Whilst dashing to the next array they came across what must have been a two metre long snake, red on the bottom, blending into black on the top. As they were going so quickly they startled it and it jumped in the air before racing into the forest to the right of the trail, revealing a flash of red, but not enough of a view for the team to identify it. An eventful pitfall run, with a snack at a refreshing stream in the middle of the reserve and a full data sheet, it couldn’t have been a better Sunday forest walk and the group returned to base to relax and enjoy the rest of a chilled out day.