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

Friday, April 16, 2010

For the bird mist-netters at GVI Amazon, it involved an early morning start, 4.45am to be precise. We needed to be at our study site by 6am and there was a long walk ahead of us. We put our heads down and hit the trails. Forty minutes into the walk Edwin, one of our ten week interns, unknowingly disturbed a dull brown snake. It flashed across the path and came to a halt just one meter away. Leaning in to get a closer look in the torch light, we realised it was the infamous Fer-de-Lance (Bothrops atrox).

Widely revered as the most deadly snake in the region, this species causes more deaths per year than any other snake. We gave it the respect it is due and slowly backed off. Although generally considered to be nocturnal, these snakes have been found occasionally in the day time where their cryptic brown and tan colouration blends in perfectl
y with the leaf litter. They are much feared because the composition of their venom is particularly lethal and fast-acting. The fatality rate used to be high, but nowadays treatment is usually possible if the victim receives medical attention promptly. With this in mind we decided it was time to move on to the mist netting site. This close encounter served to remind us that; in the Amazon, you can never let your guard down.

Chris Beirne, GVI Amazon Base Camp Manager