Conservation and Environment in Peru: Monthly Updates
Monthly Update - June 2006
Once again I am amazed how quickly the last four weeks have passed and it is time to bring you up to date with the latest from Taricaya. After our adventures in May it was back to routine at the centre and, as I have come to expect, volunteers and staff alike have been working hard to keep the momentum that has been building this year.
Last month I mentioned the advances in the animal release program and the new accommodation for the residents (non-human!!) at Taricaya. Work continued in June and we are very close to completing the new enclosures and aviary for the parrots and parakeets. The final touches are being applied and the birds will be housed in their new quarters by mid-July. Elsewhere, I mentioned re-conditioning the old macaw enclosures for the monkeys and the transformation was completed in less than a week. Our resident primates are now proud owners of a large enclosure equipped with ropes, tyres, lianas and vines. The new surroundings have had a very positive effect on their behaviour and the monkeys are noticeably more active and playful. The new space means that they can develop socially as a group and each individual can seek either solitude or company depending on their given moods. This new-found group dynamic is great to watch and will serve the youngsters well when they are finally released and have to incorporate themselves into existing wild populations or, in some cases due to local extinction, form new groups of their own.
Mid-June saw the arrival of the Global Vets 2006. Last year witnessed the inaugural visit by three vet students from Canada and this year we were visited by four more. They were kept hard at work and after checking the health of our exotic residents in the release program I presented them with the challenge of de-parasitizing all the animals not only at Taricaya but those we brought for Pedro, our neighbour, a few months back. The warm and moist climate of the rainforest means that bacteria and parasites abound in pretty much everything. The parasites that we and our animals come into contact with are not life-threatening, indeed, most of the time we would never even realise that we host these microscopic organisms yet nonetheless it was a good opportunity to treat all the animals simultaneaously. If you only treat some of the animals then re-infection by those not treated is likely and so the vets rolled up their sleeves and rose to the challenge I had given them. The goats, sheep, donkeys, forty plus guinea pigs and release program residents are now parasite free and whilst the vets agreed that the animals at Taricaya were in excellent shape this treatment will help improve their condition further. Apart from their physical endeavours the vets promised to help us with the research required to finalise our presentation for the official status as a rescue centre and so I will take this opportunity to thank the Global Vets 2006 look forward to next year's visit.
I mentioned in May's report the completion of the bird monitoring project and that we were now going to concentrate on reptiles and amphibians. True to form Daniel Niera arrived from Arequipa and the new project was up and running. The traps were installed at different locations around the reserve and the first frogs and serpents became victims to the pitfall traps. During the two weeks Daniel was present we caught numerous species, some new to us others not, and whilst it would be impossible to list all the species I would be amiss not to mention some of the more spectacular captures. Snakes have always been a personal favourite of mine and some of the larger serpents we caught included a rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchira), a huge rat snake (Cleila cleila) and an olive whip snake (Chironius multiventris). On the amphibian front there were several species of tree frog (Hyla sp.) and some very impressive ground-dwelling frogs and toads, not least of which was the clown tree frog (Hyla leucophyllata) and one of two species of sheep frog (Hamptophryne boliviana).
July will see us continue to investigate the reptiles and amphibians of the reserve and, needless to say, there will be plenty of encounters, events and projects to report, keeping you up to date with our ongoing Amazon adventure.
Taricaya Research Centre
10th July 2006