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

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brand New Mammal Data

As the newest member of staff (at time of writing, not so anymore!) and fresh out of my Masters Degree course in Conservation, I arrived eager to sink my teeth into some science out in the field and leaving the computer behind. I was not disappointed as I was immediately set to the task of learning frog names while perched precariously upon subsiding muddy banks, mist netting techniques at dawn and bird calls with a bag on my back and the sun on my face – goodbye computer rooms, goodbye endless pots of tea, goodbye apologizing to the cleaners for leaving three days of fast food detritus over my desk.

 When I was offered leadership of the mammal project, I was excited to get out there with our camera traps and bring in some good data but also keen to expand the project as we are unable to use the mammal data for the monitoring grid that has been put in place. The answer to my problem was a double edged sword – the road. One day a couple of us chanced upon a man with a laser measurer and discovered that they were bringing us a brand spanking new asphalt surface to the road (there will no doubt be a blog dedicated solely to the road in the near future). “Hurray!” I heard the communities cry as they dreamed of a mere three hour journey to the nearest town. Unfortunately for us this vision was a nightmare of chemical run-off, tree clearance, increased traffic, light pollution and more. 

It also meant that we needed some data. We cannot stop the asphalt but we can measure the before and after effects in the hope that environmental impact mitigation will be taken seriously in the future. SO. Out went my traps (yes they are now mine.) To date we have only done one transect but that one transect has yielded some great results. Probably due to a combination of fantastic leadership and wonderful volunteers who were willing to act out an array of different animals so as to double and triple check that the camera angle was perfect, every trap yielded goodies. There was a greater abundance of photos the further from the road we went – lots of agouti - but as we got closer we began to see pacas, armadillos and at 0m from the road – a bloomin' ocelot! This bodes well for the future. Watch this space.

Charlotte Coupland, GVI Amazon Field Staff