Peru Part V: Welcome to the jungle, again

In the jungle with my parents

Picking up my parents from Puerto Maldonado’s tiny airport is a strange experience. Of course, I am very happy to see them again. On the other hand, their arrival marks the end of my time as a volunteer in the jungle. From now on it will be much more like a family holiday instead of what I’ve experienced so far. Fortunately, I get to show them the rain forest from my perspective, before we move on to other parts of Peru. We visit Boca Pariamanu for two days, allowing me to meet up with some friends again. I show them the forest at night, which they later describe as ‘being in some sort of dream’. With my bright headlamp in front, I lead the way along the trails. At first, they’re not quite sure what to think of the caiman and the snake I’m suddenly holding in my hands. But they get used to having me as a guide. After a long day of hiking on Boca’s main road, it’s time for me to say a final goodbye to the town that has been my home for more than six weeks.
We don’t leave the jungle straight away, but my experience in the forest becomes very different. From now on, it’s all in control of my parents and the guides they have booked. We’re taken with a big boat on the Madre de Dios river, all the way to the Rio Heath which marks the border with Bolivia. Here we sleep in a small raised hut, and to me this seems like a useless luxury. Who needs walls in the jungle? A roof is enough in my opinion. And what’s up with the three course meal we’re getting served twice a day? Let me just grab my rice and veggies straight out of the pan. I have serious trouble adjusting to the new, more touristic way of traveling. Thankfully, we have Pepe; a very knowledgeable and friendly guide. I serve as his sidekick: the animals he fails to notice, mostly at night, are quickly spotted (and caught, if possible) by me. Through the eyes of my parents, I get to experience some things all over again. I share their enthusiasm when they see capuchins, squirrel monkeys and hoatzins for the first time. But also for me, many things are new. We climb a massive lupuna tree with a rope ladder to get a 360 view above the canopy and we watch one of the global top ten macaw clay licks from a floating platform. I have a close encounter with a group of coatis, a raccoon-like mammal that communicates with strange clicking noises. The most amazing view I get on the Pampas del Heath, a big stretch of savannah in a place where you would never expect it. It feels like suddenly entering Africa when the trees give way to the great open plain. This is where giant anteaters and the illusive mane wolf roam, but it’s also the stage of a daily spectacle when yellow and blue macaws return from the forest to their nesting trees. We even get a good look at the toco toucan, the biggest species of toucan in the world which is very hard to see in this part of the country.
When we’re transferred to our next destination I almost sleep through my parents’ first (and my sixth) tapir sighting. In the late morning we arrive at the most crowded piece of jungle I’ve seen so far: Lake Sandoval in the Tambopata National Reserve. A long muddy road stretches to a small port, where a canoe takes us and our luggage through the palm swamp and on the oxbow lake. All hell breaks loose as buckets of rain pour down from the clouds. My parents scramble to get their rain coats on, while I’m happy for the frogs and plants that are finally getting some water again; it’s been ridiculously dry for the wet season.
We only have a day to spend in the lodge that we’re taken to. I wish I had more time in the reserve, as it turns out to be an amazing spot for wildlife. Brown agoutis roam the terrain, while squirrel monkeys and dusky titi monkeys jump from tree to tree. Our guide tells us he sees bushmasters on the path near our hut rather often, while I’m happy catching an olive forest racer. After the rain eases down, we venture out with the canoe to see what makes the lake famous: giant river otters. And are we lucky. The entire family shows up, playing and catching fish right before our eyes. We don’t even need Pepe’s binoculars to see them munching on their freshly caught food. The river otters (called ‘wolfs of the river’ in Spanish) used to be heavily endangered because of the trade in their fur. Now they are slowly coming back, repopulating the lakes one family at a time. As if this sight is not enough, a three meter black caiman decides to pay us a visit and show off its enormous jaws. We have no luck finding a tree boa, apparently common in this area, on our final night walk. The next morning we pack up, get back to Puerto Maldonado and check in for our flight to Cuzco. I’m grumpier than ever, now definitely leaving the forest and Maldonado behind me. The prospect of hiking the Inca Trail does not yet excite me; I arrive in the ancient Andes capital without a smile. But that’s about to change.

Video: a tapir swimming and climbing on the shore of the Heath River.

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The size of the toco toucan (Ramphastos toco) is not made clear by this far-away picture, but seeing this creature on the flat pampas was a very special experience. For our guide, this was his second sighting in five years.
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Red-and-green macaws (Ara chloropterus) enjoying their morning salt lick.
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The jungle provides readily made swings for anyone wishing to unleash their inner child.
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Peru Part IV: Cutting and catching

Last three weeks at LPAC

After saying goodbye to everyone at Boca Pariamanu, I transfer back to LPAC for my final three weeks as a volunteer. The new organization I’m with is ARCAmazon, where I’m joining as a Forest Ranger. I find out that our base at LPAC has been taken over by Dutch people: there’s four of us. As a Forest Ranger, I’m mostly working on conservation in the LPAC-concession and the new Jungle Keepers-concession right across the river. Together with Rory, Elvis and Chizito, we cut through dense forest to create a path right along the JK borders. It’s tough work, especially when you unknowingly come across a tangaranga tree. This tree, that supposedly has medicinal properties, has a symbiotic relationship with a certain type of fire ants. The ants live inside of the tree and protect the plant from any damage done by other plants and animals, such as, unfortunately, me. To cut the borders far away from LPAC, we organize a two-night campout in the forest, using triangular tents suspended from three thick trees. Although swimming in the forest stream and cooking on an open fire is wonderful, the operation can’t be called a succes: in the morning of the second day, Chizito takes a wasp sting in the eye, forcing us to canoe back.
Around LPAC, we cut new trails and monitor the area for any mammals, guans and human activity. It shows me how amazingly well this small part of the rain forest is doing. Large groups of the endangered black spider monkey are seen almost everyday. In total, I manage to see an astonishing ten different species of monkeys during my time at LPAC. One of my most precious experiences in Peru revolves around two spider monkeys. As I’m taking a walk through the jungle on my own, two of them spot me before I see them. They come incredibly low and seem to be communicating about me. They’re checking me out, just as I’m checking them out. At that moment, we are equally interested in eachother.
My three fellow Dutchies are all doing their own research in the forest. Liselot intensively studies the spider monkeys around camp, identifying each individual and closely monitoring their movements. She unfortunately misses the group of 23 that I spot one day. Marjolein builds traps to find dung beetles for her research, showing us the diverse beauty of these strange animals. And Piet tries to catch as many snakes as possible. Mostly, he’s on the lookout for yellow tailed cribos and rainbow boas. Helping him out with this proves to be a lot of fun, but also a challenge. They’re quick, fierce and often well camouflaged. Nonetheless, I manage to bring back racers, calico snakes and boas.
I see some amazing mammals that I have not seen before. On a solo night walk, I see a giant armadillo slowly scurrying away in the distance. A capybara sits in the shallow water of the river with a cowbird on its head. One night, Piet and I take a small canoe up the stream behind camp. For the first time, I see a huge tapir wading through the water. It’s a beautiful and strange sight.
It’s almost impossible to mention everything I see and experience in these three days. From watching saki monkeys swing from tree to tree and seeing the trail system literally turn into a river, to picking up a tarantula and having a tree crash down on our platform. I have a near-death experience as I’m almost bitten by a wandering spider in my life jacket. Liselot saves me by calling out the dangerous critter. My final two days are especially amazing. On my penultimate afternoon, I see the last half of a big rainbow boa slither under a root. After what can only be described as tug of war with this powerful constrictor, I safely bag the boa and triumphantly take ‘Ozzy’ back to camp, where he is measured and PIP-tagged. The last morning, Piet and I get up before dawn to try and see a roaming jaguar. We walk very quietly along the trail, but without any luck. As we hike back, we notice an abundance of new cat tracks and furballs. We’ve been followed. The jungle awards us on my last night walk with a relatively rare sight: two adult tapirs crashing through the trees; a mating couple. On our way back, we wade through the stream to catch caiman, some of the best fun I’ve ever had. I leave the next day in the early morning, back to Puerto Maldonado. The next day, a new adventure wil begin: meeting my parents again.

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A golden silk orb-weaver (genus Nephila) weaves a very strong yellow web.
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I mistook this strange lifeform for a fungus, but thanks to Reddit user squidboots over at /r/mycology I now know this is a parasitic plant called Ombrophytum violaceum.
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Barred monkey frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna).
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The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) is an incredible bird. Before food reaches its stomach, it ferments in an enlarged crop. This produces a foul smell and gives the bird its nickname ‘stinkbird’.
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A pair of mating stick insects.
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Unidentified spider.
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Ozzy the rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria), after measurements and PIP-tagging.
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The rainbow boa has to be one of my favorite snakes.
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Rainbow boas are highly popular pets in the western world, resulting in a large number of different morphs available.
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A brown capuchin monkey (Sapajus apella) in a palm tree on our camp grounds.

 

 

Peru Part III: Getting wet

Last three weeks in Boca Pariamanu

Finally, the wet season starts to be noticed. The occasional downpours become more and more frequent. I get myself caught out in the rain quite often, and in the rain forest, even the most advanced piece of clothing won’t keep you dry. Gore-Tex or not, you might as well give up: you’re gonna get soaked.
As Mark leaves for a bit on a  short well-deserved vacation, I am to keep myself busy with other activities. Since the caiman team has just started up to begin researching the crocodilian population around Boca, I spend a lot of time capturing their search for the prehistoric looking creatures. Taking photographs for Fauna’s Facebook page is another one of my concerns. After Mark comes back for a short while, he leaves his equipment with me to continue light box work on any new species I find. Night walks for capturing species, morning shoots and releasing now comes down to me and Allie, Mark’s other intern. And I have to say: we do a pretty good job. Among the new species we light box are the mottled clown treefrog (Hyla sarayucensis), the Amazon horned frog (Ceratophrys cornuta) and even the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodillus, although some help was required for this guy). I do a lot of shooting for myself as well, now being fully comfortable in the jungle environment. I stop wearing bug spray, I stop caring about getting my socks and pants wet, and I couldn’t care less about pulling some worms out of my foot. We’re all connecting more with the community, playing volleyball almost every day and an occasional game of soccer (only when it’s chilly enough to not sweat profusely). For me, this makes the prospect of leaving this place harder and harder to cope with.
On one of my last days in Boca, I’m going out again with Mark to release some reptiles and amphibians we captured the night before. Even though it’s pouring down, I’m optimistic and bring a tripod and my camera in case it stops raining. Unfortunately it doesn’t, and we’re forced to release the animals without getting any pictures. As we’re walking back to camp, an incredibly bright flash of blue light illuminates the dark sky. Without any delay, a violent explosion of sound, the loudest noise I’ve ever heard, comes crashing through the raindrops. We dive to the ground and I drop the metal tripod. We crouch on the floor, with our rubber boots hopefully insulating the potential path of lightning through us. As the thunder fades away, we stand up and race back to the town. Though we laugh about our experience, we’re shaken out of our wits and smell a strong scent of burnt earth. Mark later describes it as ‘Gandalf the White coming down from the sky’. We’re very lucky that the lightning didn’t hit us, but missed us by around 10 meters.
After surviving a bullet ant infestation, seeing (and smelling) a huge pack of white-lipped peccaries and having a tarantula walk on my face, I’ve grown quite attached to the place. On November 21th, I have to leave at last. I’m going back to LPAC to participate in the Forest Ranger Program with ARCAmazon. But not before saying goodbye to everyone and taking a small party with me to Puerto. Little did I know I would be back sooner than I expected.

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Large, unidentified moth.

 

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Unidentified insect.
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Beautiful hanging Heliconias, a regular in the tropical rainforest.
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Unidentified insect.
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The mammal team actually uses this log bridge on one of their transects.
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One of the captured white caiman (Caiman crocodillus).
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Brazil nuts provide a delicious snack on a long walk. The only animal capable of opening the tough shell is the brown agouti, a large rodent. It buries the found nuts for later consumption, but often forgets their location, thus helping with the spread of the Brazil nut tree.
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One of the streams near Walter’s house, a remote place within the Boca Pariamanu community, provides a good place for searching for herps (and posing for pictures).
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A swampy area near the habitable sector. I later found out a large anaconda lives here.
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An olive tree runner (Plica umbra).
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A view of the misty forest around Boca Pariamanu.
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A nest of sweat bees. These little buggers won’t sting you, but they will crawl on you to try and get some of that delicious sweat. When you squash one of them, they release a disgusting smell which attracts even more bees.
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The Amazon green anole (Anolis punctatus).
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The Amazon horned frog (Ceratophrys cornuta) is a remarkable animal. It ambushes a prey by silently waiting in a dug out hole in the forest floor and can swallow animals almost as big as itself. Every frog as a uniquely different pattern and can stay in one place for weeks. They are very popular pets and have been dubbed ‘Pac-man frog’ due to its large mouth.
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Some local people believe that its cousin, the Colombian horned frog, is venomous and when it bites you, won’t let go until the sun sets. I, on the contrary, have mostly found this frog to be a general sweetheart and a terrific model.
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The wonderful Neotropical marbled tree frog (Hyla marmorata).
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The parrot snake (Leptophis ahaetulla) is as cute and harmless as a snake can be. It pretends to be ready to strike at any moment, but will never actually harm you, even if you try.

Peru Part II: A change of scenery

First three weeks in Boca Pariamanu

After spending a week on the couch in Puerto Maldonado enjoying the effects of a virus called Chikungunya, I am the last volunteer to be transferred to the forest community of Boca Pariamanu. Only 2.5 hours upstream from Maldonado’s harbor, this community is based where the Pariamanu river enters Las Piedras. When one thinks of a jungle community in South America, images of strange herbal rituals and naked dancing usually pop up. But to see that, you’ll have to visit the uncontacted tribes, hidden away far from humanity below the thick canopy. Boca is very much like a regular village, but without any roads, and houses above the ground to keep out any wild animals. Nobody in Boca seems to have heard of these strange people called ‘vegetarians’, so my first meal is a bit of improvising.
My job is now different from what I did at LPAC. Here I am working with Mark, a wildlife photographer from England with a love for coca leaves. I sleep on an empty Brazil nut drying platform, which quickly gets dubbed ‘The Nut Hut’. Mark is working on an identification guide for reptiles and amphibians in the Madre de Dios region. I am still skeptical when it comes to handling herpetofauna and going out at night; I thought the night was for sleeping? Slowly but surely, I start to get the hang of the job. The morning is where I get my workout of carrying a gasoline generator and a large wooden table to the Nut Hut, where we photograph species that we caught last night in a white box to avoid background distraction (find these pictures on facebook.com/untamedwildlife). I notice myself getting more and more comfortable with both my camera and the animals we’re handling. In the afternoon, we usually release the animals and take their pictures in their natural habitat. Most of the photos in this blog are from those times. As night falls, and everyone goes to sleep, we venture out into the woods to find new animals and bring them back with us.
After only a week in Boca, I encounter the most fearful animal yet; a young Fer-de-Lance pit viper. Strangely enough, this is the only dangerously venomous snake I’ve encountered during my time in Peru. Photographing this creature is highly exciting. Just a few days later, I have another amazing experience when I catch my first snake. As Mark is very ill (on his birthday) I am out early with Fauna’s mammal team to survey the area when we stumble upon something unexpected. A beautiful rainbow boa, relaxing in the middle of the trail. I have not seen a boa before and have absolutely no idea whether this is a dangerous animal. After being assured that this one is in fact not venomous, I’m urged by the entire mammal team to catch it. After all, there’s no way that they’re picking it up! And since the boa is starting to crawl away, I’ll have to move fast. Even though the snake does not seem to like me very much, I manage to not get chewed on and safely get him in the bag. In spite of Mark’s illness he seems to be happy with his birthday present.

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A katydid mimicking a leaf.
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Even the trees can hurt you!

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The black-headed calico snake (Oxyrhopus melanogenys), a friendly animal that will lift any mistrust in reptiles.
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The pineapple snake, Liophis reginae. We had two, but one was an escape master and disappeared.
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Coming right at you.
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Phyllomedusa tomopterna, or the barred monkey frog.
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A juvenile South American lancehead (Bothrops atrox), also called Fer-de-Lance.
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Young lanceheads hunt by attracting prey by waggling their yellow tail as a lure.
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A cicada tower.
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Imantodes cenchoa, the common blunt-headed tree snake.
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A beautiful Phyllomedusa camba.
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This katydid mimics a dead leaf.
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A shedding katydid.
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A cotton candy-like caterpillar.
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The one and only Boa constrictor, the red-tailed boa.
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A portrait of the Western leaf lizard (Stenocercus fimbriatus).

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Peru Part I: Welcome to the jungle

The first three weeks at LPAC

After two plane rides, a loud tuk tuk and a car ride over a dusty jungle road, I arrive at LPAC. This biological research center lies in the middle of the forest, surrounded by trees on two sides, a small stream on one and the Rio Las Piedras (The River of Stones) on the other. You’d think being surrounded by nature means peace and quite at all times, but you couldn’t be further away from the truth. Screaming birds and buzzing insects dominate the air around me. After settling on my wooden platform and eating the first delicious lunch -many more would follow it- I am eager to explore the wall of green around me. I set out with Corrie Rushford, mammal coordinator, on a transect. And I’ll be honest: that big machete she’s holding looks quite intimidating. But after just a few minutes, I see monkeys in the wild for the first time in my life. Spider monkeys, brown capuchin monkeys and their foraging companions: squirrel monkeys. A few minutes later, we all jump into the river that’s fed by a set of refreshingly cold waterfalls (after scaring away the potential sting rays). It seems like a dream, but it sets the tone for the many weeks to come.

During the first three weeks I quickly got used to this new environment. All the trails were quickly explored by going on mammal transects, checking herpetofauna pitfall traps and going on relaxing walks with other volunteers. With herp team coordinator Alberto we ventured out at night to find snakes, frogs and lizards. My hands were shaking during my first encounter with a caiman, when I was given a youngster to hold on to while Alberto dealt with its much bigger mom. I became comfortable with the lack of warm water, the constant noise and the daily bites from mosquitos, wasps and ticks. I discovered that a mosquito net does a very bad job at protecting you from mouse opossums seeking warmth in the night, as one woke me up as it crawled over my stomach. Other guests could be found in the bathroom, where a deadly wandering spider and a tailless whip scorpion (google it) liked to reside. I saw snakes in the wild for the first time and discovered a fascination for them that I did not have before.

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Female Harlequin beetle
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A Forest whiptail, found in one of the pitfall traps
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Portrait of boat driver Melo
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Beetle on a mushroom
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A Crested forest toad, imitating a dead leaf
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Showing kids from Lucerna the macaw clay lick
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Strange jungle fruit
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Baby in a bag
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Driving back after a swim

Vooruitzicht

Over een week ben ik weg. Ver van Nederland, telefoonverbinding en internet. In het regenwoud in Peru zal ik een stuk minder blogs kunnen schrijven, als dat überhaupt al lukt.
Om alvast in de sfeer van het exotische te komen -en om de gemengde gevoelens van mijn moeder te sussen- zijn we een dag naar Landgoed Hoenderdaell gegaan. Een bijzonder dierenpark in de Noord-Hollandse polder, waar veel verwaarloosde en uitgebuite dieren een goed thuis hebben gekregen. Ook Stichting Leeuw zit er; de grote katachtigen zijn in een ware jaagsimulator te bewonderen. Om hun jachtinstincten te ontwikkelen en hun conditie op pijl te houden rennen ze achter een stuk vlees aan dat met 4 touwen door de ruimte wordt getrokken. Na een tijd kunnen ze dan hopelijk weer naar hun oorspronkelijke leefgebied.
In Hoenderdaell zit ook een grote hoeveelheid vogels, apen en andere zoogdieren. De lori’s van de blauwe bergen vliegen vrij rond in een grote volière. Voor een euro kun je een bakje suikerwater kopen om ze te voeren. Zodra je het bakje opent, beland je in een wervelwind van schel gekrijs en felle kleuren. De lori’s schromen niet om op je hoofd plaats te nemen of in je oor te schreeuwen. Eentje poepte zelfs tot twee keer aan toe over mijn been…

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Ook de kroonkraanvogel liet zich goed fotograferen.IMG_1023

We hebben een hele tijd staan kijken bij de berberapen. Een kleine zat voortdurend achter een groter familielid aan en vloog door de kooi alsof er geen zwaartekracht bestond. Het mag dus een wonder heten dat ik het aapje in deze relaxte positie heb kunnen vastleggen.

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Hoewel het park in omvang een fractie is van bijvoorbeeld Blijdorp, houdt zich er toch een grote hoeveelheid bijzondere soorten op. Soms lopen ze vlak langs je, zoals de pinchéaapjes en de wallaby’s. De alpaca’s en capibara’s deden me alvast vooruitdenken aan Peru. Daar zal ik ze waarschijnlijk vaak in combinatie met aardappelen en rijst aangeboden krijgen. Hoewel ik sommige verblijven in Hoenderdaell aan de kleine kant vond (zoals de kooi van de steppevossen en de twee raven) bedacht ik me dat hun huidige bestaan waarschijnlijk een stuk beter is dan hun vorige leven. Bovendien hadden andere soorten juist weer een enorm oppervlak tot hun beschikking, zoals de hyena’s en de dieren die in het stiltegebied buiten het park vrij rondlopen.

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Steppevosje
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Pinchéaap
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De stokstaartjes, op een armlengte afstand, blijven gaaf

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Tot onze grote verbazing bleken het verblijf van de bruine beren (die voor hun redding in een betonnen bak bij een Sovjet-generaal woonden) en van de Europese wolven via een brede buis met elkaar verbonden. Beide krachtpatsers hadden een tijdje geleden voer gekregen, maar de wolven wilden wel weten of er aan de andere kant wat te snaaien viel. De grootste durfal liep voorzichtig het berenverblijf in en knabbelde wat aan een overgebleven karkas. Al snel kwamen de beren naar zijn idee te dichtbij en hij vertrok weer naar zijn soortgenoten. Maar de bruine dikkerds lieten het daar niet bij en kwamen nu ook bij de wolven op staatsbezoek. Daar lagen nog een hoop peren, die ze zonder veel weerstand begonnen op te slokken. De wolven stonden er wat hulpeloos bij. Plotseling verdwenen drie van de vier beren vlug weer door de buis, op het eerste gezicht zonder enige aanleiding. De overgeblevene, de stoerste of de domste, stond snel oog in oog met een grommende alfavrouw en haar handlangers. Na een indrukwekkend machtsvertoon droop ook deze beer af. Als laatste teken van dominantie betrad de alfabitch nog eenmaal de berenwereld en deed midden op hun land een plas.

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Met dank aan redditgebruiker beausant, die voor mij vakkundig de draden heeft weggeshopt

Het hoogtepunt kwam op het apeneiland. Al eerder hadden we daar de ringstaartmaki’s gezien die met z’n allen lui op een hoopje van de zon lagen te genieten.

Toen we er voor de tweede keer kwamen was het een drukte van jewelste. De maki’s wisten dat ze gevoerd gingen worden en zaten nerveus bij toeschouwers op de schouders. Toen iedereen vervolgens stukjes appel in zijn hand kreeg, barstte de chaos los. Alsof we bomen waren sprongen ze van mens naar mens, soms met z’n drieën tegelijk. Ze grepen mijn haar, mijn rugtas en mijn neus. Niemand was veilig voor de zwartwitte acrobaten. Toen de appels op waren, keerde de rust weer terug en gingen ze gezamenlijk liggen uitbuiken.




Ringstaartmaki’s zal ik niet tegenkomen in het Amazonewoud. Maar de brutale apen, vogels en andere dieren deden me nog meer vooruitkijken naar de komende vier maanden. Voorlopig zal dit mijn laatste blog zijn. Misschien bevat de volgende een jaguar.

Westduinpark/Kop van Zuid

Het zal vast niemand ontgaan zijn: het is warm. Hoewel de dagen langzaam weer korter worden, voelt het nog steeds als hartje zomer. Die hoge temperaturen maken het een zeer geschikte tijd om in de avond nog buiten te fotograferen. Het is dan koeler en het licht is een stuk zachter.
Pasgeleden zijn er in het Westduinpark nieuwe kalfjes geboren. Die roodbruine poeperds wilde ik graag vastleggen voordat ze volwassen worden. Ik ben ’s avonds, iets voor zonsondergang, op zoek gegaan naar de grote grazers. Zou ik weer net zo veel geluk hebben als de vorige keer dat ik ze zocht?

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Ja dus. Een groep volwassen koeien stond met twee kalfjes bij hun favoriete meertje aan de Laan van Poot. Helaas belemmerde een hek mij om ze echt van dichtbij te fotograferen, en door de hoge begroeiing konden ze zich goed verbergen. Bovendien was ik niet de enige…IMG_0944

Ik hield het al snel voor gezien. Toen ik weer de duinen inliep herinnerde ik me een andere plek waar de koeien graag vertoeven. Bij een waterpomp in de buurt van een groot veld staat de kudde vaak te drinken of te rusten. De zon begon al te verdwijnen, dus gehaast liep ik erheen. Mijn vermoeden bleek te kloppen, want vlak langs het pad stonden twee grazers: een moeder en een zoontje. Ze waren niet bang, en terwijl mams mij nauwlettend in de gaten hield kon ik het kalf bijna aanraken.IMG_0963IMG_0968 Na een poos besloot moeder dat ik wel genoeg had geschoten. Ze liep rustig richting de bescherming van het struikgewas terwijl het kalfje snel achter haar aan huppelde. De zon ging onder, de nacht viel.IMG_0973IMG_0986

Ik liep terug richting het strand waar mijn fiets geparkeerd stond. De zomer doet mooie dingen met de lucht.IMG_0992

Als bonus nog een paar foto’s die ik in de buurt van het Nederlands Fotomuseum heb gemaakt. Ik kan de tentoonstelling van natuurfotograaf Frans Lanting aan iedereen aanraden.IMG_0863IMG_0867IMG_0871IMG_0872