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 22, 2011

Is there anybody out there?

So after having been on a few night visual encounter surveys with few animal sightings, I was getting a bit suspicious of there actually being any interesting wildlife here in the rainforest. But I was assured as we made the walk up to Columbia trail in the Yachana Reserve that it was a good night to see some frogs, snakes and maybe even some lizards.

After a 40 minute stroll we made it to the Columbia trail, where we had a rendezvous with Andy, the GVI Amazon base camp manager (who had been out looking for satellite campers, but that’s a story for another day!). We made our way through the forest, off-trail, using GPS to get to our starting point. We then set off on the survey, walking at a very leisurely pace of about 100 meters every 3o minutes, all the time keeping our eyes peeled for anything living out there in the darkness.

For the first hour or so not much happened, except for me falling on my backside whilst going down every hill with a gradient higher than 5 degrees. Then all of a sudden Andy shouted out “Snake!”. He had found a little snail-eating snake (Dipsas catesbyi) – a beautiful thin snake with black and white banding, with the black fading to a brown colour further down the body.

The frogs then started coming fairly regularly, including a nice tree frog and some mating milk frogs, which are known to be very elusive. Then came my time to shine; I wandered off up a hill, managing to stay on my feet for once, I shone my torch up a tree trunk and sitting there was a Forest Dragon, which isn’t really a dragon, but in fact a lizard, and pretty cool-looking at that. It was fairly high up the tree, but with one almighty cat-like leap Andy reached the lizard, which allowed us to get some pretty good photos.

All in all a pretty successful evening’s surveying, and I can now confirm that there are in fact plenty of interesting things here in the rainforest of Ecuador!

Alex Fowler – GVI Amazon Conservation Intern, April – September 2011