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, August 3, 2010

Little Angel

Soft, dense golden fur tipped with silver, a short but elongated snout, no teeth, big eyes and a prehensile tail and huge, strong front claws... it sounds like a mythical creature of great magnitude! The Silky or Pygmy Anteater, (Cyclopes didactylus), in reality, is the smallest of the anteaters, reaching a maximum length of 40 cm including their furred, tapered tail, and weighing only half a pound. They feed on ants and other insects, breaking into ant nests with their sharp claws. They are nocturnal and arboreal. During the day, they sleep curled in a tight ball, usually within a tangle of lianas. They defend themselves by pinching whoever is attacking them with their strong claws. Many of their local common names translate to “little angel”.

Silky Anteaters are found throughout the Neotropical lowland rainforests of Central and South America, but due to their small size and the fact that they are nocturnal and arboreal, they are very seldom seen. They rarely come down to the ground. There has been evidence of them on the reserve, scratches at ant nests, but no concrete sightings. However, while walking back from a night amphibian transect this week, we got a great look at one as it slowly scurried at its top speed along a log and into the adjacent vegetation. Catching not only a glimpse but a great look at one of the most secretive mammals in the rainforest is definitely one of my highlights here at GVI Amazon!

Jenn Sinasac - GVI Amazon Field Staff