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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Amazon - The Holy Grail

This week on GVI Amazon saw the very first trial of a new project here in Ecuador. We had decided to focus a on the main stream that runs through the Yachana Reserve and conduct night time surveys in which we record amphibian species (both seen and heard), reptiles, birds and mammals. Things went fantastically well and should set the platform for a fantastic new project over the coming expeditions.

This is not however exactly what I wanted to write about but explains what we were up to when we discovered the Amazon Holy Grail. I have been staff with GVI Amazon for around 14 months and over that time seen some spectacular things such as king vultures, a hawk eagle, a beautiful tiny pit-viper, various coral snakes, and armadillo, etc, etc, etc.

But ....... there was a legend. On one of the computers when myself and Chris Beirne began at GVI Amazon over a year ago we came across a file labelled ‘Caiman – Stream 1’. ‘WOW’ I hear you say. Well so did we! Do you have any idea how many times myself and Chris have run down Stream 1 at the eye shine of a caiman, only to be laughed and ridiculed by our volunteers after we find an aquatic rat or a water opossum? A few too many.

This time things were a little different…. One of our interns, Tom, spotted some eye-shine ahead. I turned only to see a large water spider hopping across the surface of the stream. Chris shouted ‘CAIMAN!!’....sprinted..... I followed. We stopped.....saw nothing and our hearts sank. But true pantomime fashion, the volunteers shouted ‘HE’S BEHIND YOU!’ As we span and ran.....there he was.... a caiman......smooth fronted.....Mr Wiggles....sat under a log.

I pounced on him and sat in the stream holding the Holy Grail high in the air. Benny, Bianca, Olly, Rachel, Henry and Tom were all there to join in with mine and Chris’ delight for photos and a rather spectacular memory. Take a look at the photos and see for yourselves whether you would like the chance to find your own Holy Grail!

Andrew Whitworth - GVI Amazon Base Manager