Catt-Trax 2 - Amazon Basin en Ecuador - the Oriente (aka Ecuadorian Amazon) <p align="center"> <img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="Tree Frog, Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador" title="Tree Frog, Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador" width="322" height="480" /> <br /><strong>Tree Frog, Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador</strong> </p> <p>It is early afternoon and I am on a private nature reserve adjacent to the Rio Napo in the Ecuadorian Amazon (in Ecuador this region is called the Oriente). It rained much of this morning and so it is cool, fresh and comfortable. It is still cloudy but the clouds are patchy and much higher than they were just a few minutes ago and it is getting brighter.</p> <p style="text-align: center"> <img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="Squirrel Monkey" title="Squirrel Monkey" width="480" height="343" /> <br /><strong>Squirrel Monkey</strong> </p> <p>There are Squirrel Monkeys bouncing their way through the trees, some chasing each other and others just moving about lazily through the canopy. There are other primates here as well and in the past couple of days I have had a chance to see (or hear) a few of them. Early in the morning you can hear the Red Howler Monkeys ‘howling’ from far off in the forest and while on a walk through the forest yesterday we saw a troop of Brown Capuchins and the tiny Pygmy Marmosets, one of the smallest, if not THE smallest, species of primate in the world.</p> <p style="text-align: center"> <img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="Poison Dart Frog" title="Poison Dart Frog" width="480" height="338" /> <br /><strong>Poison Dart Frog</strong> </p> <p>There are frogs croaking and calling from the forest and the birdlife is both abundant and diverse. Just a few metres along any of the trails here you can find tree frogs and the small &amp; beautiful, yet toxic, poison dart frogs. Above the forest canopy I can see a dozen or so Yellow-headed Vultures soaring. In a tree to my left half a dozen Toucans were sitting not long ago, and every few minutes it seems a flock of chattering parrots (and/or parakeets) flies overhead. It is truly an amazing place. Every now and then the adult cicadas begin their almost deafening buzzing roar (I don’t how else to describe the sound)… then for some unknown reason they go silent. A large gecko is clicking above my head, virtually hanging upside down from the underside of the thatched palm roof, in about the same spot I saw a large black, fuzzy Tarantula last night.</p> <p style="text-align: center"> <img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="Tarantula" title="Tarantula" width="480" height="322" /> <br /><strong>Tarantula</strong> </p> <p>A beautiful Blue Morphos butterfly just floated by and I have seen dozens of other species of insects, spiders and creepy crawlies on my walks in the forest. There are snakes here too including the world’s largest, the Anaconda! There are other reptiles including tortoises and lizards as well as the Spectacled Caiman, a close relative of crocodiles and alligators!</p> <p style="text-align: center"> <img class="image preview" src="/catttrax2/sites/" alt="South American Yellow-footed Tortoise" title="South American Yellow-footed Tortoise" width="480" height="322" /> <br /><strong>South American Yellow-footed Tortoise</strong> </p> <p>These creatures, great and small, are just a small sample of the incredible diversity of life found in this part of Ecuador. Yet, in the distance I hear the roar of a chainsaw. I don’t know what trees are being felled or exactly where (it is most likely outside of this private nature reserve - I hope so anyway) yet its echoes through the forest are a reminder of the significant pressures that this rich ecosystem of Ecuador, and the Amazon Basin in general, is facing. As described in earlier blog posts, large expanses of forest are being harvested in the Amazon daily to clear land for the production of crops (primarily soybeans) and for cattle ranching and mining (amongst other economic endeavours). Spending time in these amazing tropical forests increases my resolve to do what I can to ensure their health now and in the future.</p> Amazon Amazon Basin Amazon Basin Ecuador Oriente Fri, 20 Apr 2007 23:25:04 -0700 Danny Catt 496 at