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Monthly Update - January 2005
It always seemed that each January was a bit slower to get going as I received our first volunteers of a new year but this year we have been incredibly busy and the momentum has not been lost. With the New Year I like to start some new initiatives as well as continue with the old ones and I feel it is time that Taricaya moves into a new type of investigation coupled with the older projects. It is nice to move forward and develop new ideas and this year I am going to dedicate some of our efforts to the fields of herpetology (study of amphibians and reptiles) and entomology (insects).
In general there is very little known, much less published, on the diversity of frogs/toads and butterflies in the Amazonas area and so this year I will start our own investigation into what can be found in our reserve. The aim is to produce a photo guide to the different species in both projects and as we increase our data base I will design further studies to investigate features such as territoriality and breeding behaviour. The new initiative will involve transect studies by day and night and the night walks searching for new specimens are bound to throw up other surprises too. Just last week on a frog hunt one group was fortunate enough to see night monkeys and a kinkajou (see below) whilst hunting for frogs.
The animal release program is as strong as ever with two new additions in January. These were a dusky titi monkey ( Callicebus moloch brunneus ) and a fascinating member of the raccoon family, a kinkajou ( Potos flavus ). Both animals are in excellent health and their prospects are looking very encouraging for a successful release over the next few months. With regards to the macaws and parrots in the release program there was news of mixed success. It was with great joy that the Blue-headed parrot ( Pionus menstruus ) and the Cobalt-winged parakeets ( Brotogeris cyanoptera ) were successfully released in January along with one of the scarlet macaws ( Ara macao ) but unfortunately two of the other scarlet macaws died. When one individual in a pair dies it is not unusual for the other to die shortly after. It was very unfortunate after such a lot of effort in trying to nurse them back to health.
It was sad but the pleasure in seeing the other birds flying free around the area soon puts the program back into perspective where the successes far outweigh the failures. The Red-and-green macaws ( Ara chloroptera ) continue to progress well and their flight feathers are regenerating well and another happy story concerns our solitary Blue-and-yellow macaw ( Ara ararauna ) who was happily united with our latest edition to the project and the two of them are now inseparable in the aviary.
Elsewhere at Taricaya the farm has kept us busy with the transplanting of the mahogany saplings. The plants are far bigger than I imagined for this stage in theproject and now we enter stage three with the transfer of the saplings to different areas, in different densities to finally draw our conclusions on the potential of mahogany plantations in the rainforest. This project has great prospects and we are now entering the final phase where the true benefits for long term plantations can be assessed. On the 24 th January I presented the technical report for the official allocation of the reserve and hopefully in February, or more realistically March, we will be proud owners at last of the Reserva Ecologica Taricaya. February promises more work with the mahogany, the frogs and butterflies, of course the animal release, and making and mapping of trails to mark the borders of the reserve. There is always lots to do and there is no danger of volunteers (or staff) running out of work!!!
Taricaya Research Centre
03rd February 2005