Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TCS scientists study Amazon Rainforest in Peru

Mar 28, 2012
Source: NorthumberlandView.caLink

On March 10th, seven Trinity College School students and two teachers ventured into the Amazon rainforest in Peru for a two-week biological and conservation management research programme organized by Operation Wallacea in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. The purpose of the trip was to assist in the ongoing compilation of data, specifically during the high water season, for seven different monitoring programmes: fish, caimans, macaws, dolphins, understory birds as well as land and water animals.

The information gathered over the years has enabled scientists to lobby for more forest to be preserved and has helped to establish community-based management techniques with the local Cocama tribes who subsist solely on the land and water. Furthermore, this research has helped to demonstrate the impacts of climate change on the land and water animals in this region and will ideally help to generate strategies to improve the situation. Due to the conservation methods that have been in place for the past 12 years, this region has seen the populations of species such as the howler and woolly monkeys rebound and return to flourishing numbers and it has seen an increase in the black caiman populations from a species on the endangered list to one that is now listed as conservation dependent.

It was an incredible experience for all students involved (Hailey Davis, Alex Jack, Makani Joinville, Max Kaufmann, Hikaru Morishita, Basil Southey, Ryan Williams), as well as the chaperones (faculty members Bruce Craine and Steph Feddery). Exploring a flooded forest in search of “land” proved to be the biggest challenge and “land” turned out to be very elusive. Students had the opportunity to see rare pink river dolphins in the Samiria River and numerous types of macaws, fish and understory birds. During the surveys, students saw a variety of primate species: howler monkeys, tamarins, capuchins and woolly monkeys.

While in the reserve, students lived on a restored ship that was once used during the Amazonian rubber boom between 1880 and 1920. After 12 days on the boat we got to visit a typical Cocama village and it was the first time we’d seen civilization since we embarked on our trip up river to the reserve. While we were unable to play a game of soccer due to the flooded fields, we were able to dance and play with the children of the St. Martin community. Following a group dinner in the city of Iquitos the TCS group returned home on March 24th after a whirlwind experience. Whether you were interested in science before or simply curious for an adventure, this trip opened all of our eyes to the wonders of nature, the power that a concerned group of people can have and the importance of doing all we can to preserve and conserve the environment for future generations.

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