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, April 10, 2012

INTERN CORNER: Sumak Allpa/Hector's Island

INTERN CORNER is a special space in our blog dedicated to the work of GVI 6-month Conservation Interns while on their work placements here in Ecuador.  Our Conservation Interns spend 10-12 weeks on base, receiving training in our fieldwork methodologies and species identification, as well as receiving EFR first aid & CPR training; GVI certification in Biological Survey Techniques and Leadership; weekly meetings and 1-on-1 time with a GVI staff mentor; 40 hours of individual Spanish lessons in the highland town of Otavalo while living for 2 weeks with a local family; and a 10-12 week work placement within the GVI staff team or with our partner communities and organizations within remote areas of the Amazon!  If you're interested, check out the Conservation Internship and apply today:

Sumak Allpa: Monkey Rehabilitation in the Amazon

Photo credit: Robert Christian, GVI Intern

Photo credit: Robert Christian, GVI Intern

One sunny afternoon on Hector’s Island, Hector sailed into port with a mystery box. He brought it to shore, opened it up, and out shot two little brown balls of fluff , heading straight for the nearest tree. The newest, and cutest, residents of Hector’s Island are a pair of six-month-old woolly monkeys. These boys, just two of the many victims of the illegal pet trade, were found at Coca market, for sale at a mere $20 each. One visit to the vet’s, a good clean up, and a dose of anti-parasitics later, and they were given the all clear to start their new lives on Hector’s Island.
Our two boys have been given a second chance to live normal woolly lives, but many others are not so lucky. The illegal pet trade, excessive bushmeat hunting, and habitat loss and degredation, combined with a low rate of reproduction, have resulted in woolly monkeys becoming critically endangered, and locally extinct in increasingly large areas of the Amazon.

Photo Credit: Robert Christian, GVI Intern
On Hector’s Island, or Sumak Allpa, as it is officially named, rescued monkeys live freely, without cages or fences, until the time comes when the population is able to support itself, at which point the monkeys will be released back into Yasuni National Park. But for now, our little woollies are thriving on a natural woolly diet, and acting like kings of the jungle. We’re looking forward to the day that they’re brave enough to venture into the forest to meet the rest of the woollies, though they’ll quickly be put in their place by the big boss of the group!

Claire Armstrong (text) and Robert Christian (photos), GVI Conservation Interns, Sept 2011-Mar 2012