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Antee

Deep Peruvian Amazon - Tapiche reserve

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Antee

I recently spent some time in the deep Peruvian rainforest. Along the rivers who´s forming the mighty Amazon river.

The place is called Tapiche reserve and is basically a one man´s 6000 hectare property. Located 404km upriver from the jungle city of Iquitos.

 

Some background info:

 

It is fairly recently that tourists come here. It has only been running for about two years. Altough the property was bought 5 years ago.

Katoo is the name of the landowner and he was also my guide during this 6 days in the rainforest.

He started this project for one reason only and that is to protect the animals who is vulnerable to hunting by the locals and also the ever present logging. Both a big problem along the rivers in the whole Amazon river systems.

 

Animals has started to come back in this reserve. They getting more and more everyday and less shy of people.

The animals here have people associate with death and evil and Katoo said it would take about 10 years Before the change in the animal's awareness.

Before you could hear shootguns almost every night, now it has been quite for almost 5 years. Or at least nearly quite...

The reserve is not appreciated by the surrounding villages who has lost some important hunting ground and it´s still some conflict between locals and the reserve.

 

Almost every night during my stay there was people sneaking in along the river in the darkness to collect turtle eggs to sell. Some of them were chased away by Katoo but of course one man can´t watch over 6000 hectare.

 

To bring with him the surrounding villages he only employees the local people in the lodge. Which create some work and income in otherwise very poor area. Where people are self-sufficient and depend on the resources of the forest. So in some way I can really understand the conflicts here.

 

A funny story was in an early evening when we were boat cruising along the river and we saw a suspect boat. We approached and asked the man what he did in the area. He answered that he was fishing.

Also a rifle was on the boats floor.

Katoo asked the man if he wanted to work in his lodge instead of shooting his animals and plunder turtle eggs. And he said, yes. So he started to work the next day to seal the lodge boats...

Katoo said, everyday he worked here instead of shooting animals is a good thing.

 

The lodge:

 

Well, this is not for everybody. This is very, very basic. You have electricity a couple of hours in the evening when the generator is on and you have cold shower. There is only place for like six people at the same time I think and it is in a kind of dorm cabin and there is also one cabin for single people. The cabins are very simple made of woods with mosquito nets around them (ALOT of holes in them though) and also mosquito nets around the beds.

The food is good but simple. Mostly rice or pasta with some fish from the river or vegetables.

 

Location:

 

This is the main thing why I wanted to come here. There is no lodge, more than this, who is this far away from everything. It is a hell of a ride to get here. It takes around 10 hours from Iquitos (Where you fly in from Lima). First around 2 hours by road to Nauta. Then totally around 7 hours uprivers in two different boats. With a break for lunch half way in a logging community called Requena.

But when you are done you will be fully awarded by pristine prime forest!

The kind of forest you want the whole Amazon rainforest to be!

 

So, very basic lodge and a hard and long journey to get there made it not suitable for everybody. But if you have a sense of adventures and want the real deal this is the place to be!

 

I spend 6 days in the rainforest. But basically two of them is transport days. So the first day I arrived around sunset and it was only time for first some dinner and then we went out boating with lights in the night.

 

My main targets was to see a Tamandua and the very very rare Uakari monkey. Also the Wolly monkey was high on my list.

Katoo would do everything to implement this.

 

And remember, this trip report is not about very good photos. It´s mostly long distance and millions of leaves, branches and other stuff between you and the target. Lack of light and most of the animals high up in the canopy makes the rainforst very, very difficult to photo in.

So let´s see what I´ll found during my stay in the Tapiche reserve.

 

Day 1.

 

On the way to the lodge there was millions of birds. This must be like heaven for bird watchers. Peru have 1300 species of birds. Only outnumbered by Brazil in the whole world.

I am not a birder and was here for the mammals but there will be some birds in here as well :)

 

One and a half hour from the lodge Katoo suddenly spotted something along the river. My first mammal of the trip, a Three toed Sloth!

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Doing what Sloth´s mostly doing... takes it very easy :)

They also have the two toed Sloth who is nocturnal. This is day active.

 

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Later on after dinner we went out for a boatcruise in the dark.

Alot of Spectacled Caimans on the shores. We saw maybe 50 of them. Many small baby´s. This was one of the biggest´s. They don´t get much bigger than this. Maximum around 2 metres.

 

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Then I saw a couple of reflecting eyes moving in my light. We turned off the engine and sneaked out to see what it was.

A Common Opossum!

Not very easy to see. You often hear them fighting around the lodge, Katoo told me but they are hard to see as they are nocturnal.

 

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Big as a house cat they live for 2,5 years mostly solitary. They are sometimes seaking human contacts in search for food in garbage and are considered as a pests animal by locals. Who also kill them and eat them.

I think they are...hmm...not beautiful... but very cool.

 

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Later on we got stuck with the boat and when we tried to get loose we managed to turned the boat upside down. Geez....

Swimming in the Amazon in the middle of the night with the piranhas and the caimans, no, not what I really wanted to do at the moment :) I managed to save the camera though!
The next hour we scooped water...

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Back in the lodge with dry clothes I had a look around and discovered some pretty cool neighbors.

Cane toad.

 

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A big toad who have a really strong poison that can easily kill dogs, cats, lizards and snakes. There have even been human deaths. The Toad can spray the poison for about one meter.

 

And also a very beautiful Osteocephalus taurinus. A kind of tree frog.

post-49909-0-02136200-1469996330_thumb.jpg

 

My inherent in the cabin was this fellow. A non poisoned Pinktoe Tarantula. I tried to feed it with some mosquitos but I think it prefers bigger prey as he couldn´t be more uninterested.

 

post-49909-0-08572600-1469996436_thumb.jpg

 

Also a very cool Wolf spider was guarding my cabin for the night.

 

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Tomorrow it is wake up call at 05:00 and it was time to sleep with the fantastic sound of the rainforest in the background.

 

Birds of the day:

 

Not much birds in my camera today as we went out in the dark. Only this one.

Black Vulture.

If vulture are on decline in many parts of the world, this is not the case here. They were basically everywhere. Lurking around villages in search for food and sitting along the river shores.

 

post-49909-0-36719600-1469996823_thumb.jpg

Edited by Antee

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SafariChick

Great start - looks to be a very cool trip report!

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Livetowander

Yes, a very good start.

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Alexander33

@@Antee

 

I understand completely. Taking good photos in the Amazon is no small challenge. It's a difficult environment. Our first night there, in southern Peru, I remember saying to my spouse J. that it was the worst vacation we'd ever taken. He agreed. But once we got into the rhythm of things, it turned out to be an amazing, unforgettable experience, and now I hope to return someday. Looking toward to hearing about your trip there.

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Anomalure

Looking forward to this report! Tapiche is on my list because it is apparently the best place to see the Uakaris. They are amazing animals and I hope you were able to see them there.

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michael-ibk

Talk about unchartered territory! Very cool start, looking forward to this. :)

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Super LEEDS

Wow, man, you have my full attention!

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elefromoz

@@Antee, holy moly, up-turned boats in the Amazon darkness, every serious creepy crawly going, armed locals, what a trip. A fascinating read indeed. I don't know your host Katoo, but I really like him, the world needs more Katoos.

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pomkiwi

@@Antee Looks like a real adventure. Looking forward to it!

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wilddog

Really looking forward to hearing and seeing more @@Antee

 

Love the sloth..................

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Antee

Day 2

 

Wake up at 05:00 and breakfast at 05:30. That was the daily routine at the lodge.

This morning we would make a 6 hour walk in the rainforest in search for the Red Uakari monkey. This was my main target together with the Tamandua and my guide Katoo wanted to check off the Uakari first as it could be quite difficult to find them sometimes.

 

We did not get very far before Katoo raised his right arm, that was a good sign and meant "don´t move and be silence" :)

I didn´t hear a thing and in my wildest imagination did not understand how to discern such small sounds. Katoo was a master of hearing sounds and then also spotting animals. Amazing work!

 

We sneaked closer to the sound.

It was a Tamandua!

Walking on a branch and when it saw us it lays down and curiosly looked at us. Mainly nocturnal but occasionally dayactive. This one was probably late for bed...

They are widespread but nowhere common. Indians use them for ants and termites protection at their homes and they also get killed by humans for their tail who is perfect for making rope.

They can vary in color. This was beautiful all black.

 

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It went quickly to see one of my target species!

Without my knowledge guide it would have been impossible to see it.

 

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Later on we almost stepped on a really camouflaged leaf-look-a-like toad. A Crested forest toad.

 

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We walked in a really swampy area of the forest as this is the prime habitat for the Uakaris but still no sign of them. No sign of any monkey´s at all actually...

Until now.

A troop of the small Squirrel monkey.

We saw them everyday during my stay in the rainforest. They are a lively monkey and moved fast in the middle sections of the forest. This was the most common species I saw during my stay.

There will be more pictures of them later. This was the only one who got captured in my camera this morning.

 

post-49909-0-49061000-1470336972_thumb.jpg

 

Another cool and very beautiful monkey is the Wolly monkey. This is Silver Wolly monkey I think. All of the Wolly monkey species are highly endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. The population has been decreasing for 45 years now and their future does not look good.

Tapiche has a stable and healthy population of them and they were fantastic to see when they jumping and moving fast away high up in the canopy.

This day we only saw a glimpse of them, including this mom with her cub on the back.

 

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No luck with the Uakaris this morning and we went back for some midday rest at the lodge. Satisfied with the Tamandua and Wolly monkey.

 

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In the afternoon we went out with the boat along the river to see if something happens.

A beautiful pristine prime forest!

 

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I was really surprised about the numbers of both Pink river Dolphins and Grey Dolphins (or Tucuxi who is it´s real name). They were basically everywhere!

 

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Pink river Dolphin is by far the biggest one of the two species. They are more or less blind. No point of having eyes in this murky water. They go by sonar to localize their prey.

 

post-49909-0-68812500-1470337189_thumb.jpg

 

Tucuxi, Grey river dolphin

 

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You saw no one near the settlements but here the water literally boils of Dolphins. Amazing.

 

We also saw a new monkey, Brown Capuchin. They often go along with the Squirrel monkeys and we saw both of them this evening.

 

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Squirrel monkey

 

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The moon began to come up and it was time for us to go back to the lodge.

 

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Birds of the day:

 

Quite alot of them today. Some of them here...

 

Black fronted nunbird

 

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Double toothed kite.

This is a funny guy. Always following the monkey troops to take advantage of insects and small animals that are frightened by the lively monkeys.

If you see this one you know there is monkeys nearby and if you see the monkeys, you know the Double toothed kite is nearby.

 

post-49909-0-09921800-1470334630_thumb.jpg

 

Tropical kingbird

 

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Orange backed troupial.

Beautiful bird!

 

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Roadside hawk

 

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Black collared hawk

 

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Amazon kingfisher

 

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Social flycatcher

 

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Tomorrow new possibilities for new species!

Edited by Antee

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Alexander33

Great first day. You actually saw a lot for the Amazon. I had to look especially hard for the frog. I'm glad you showed the enlargement, as I couldn't find it at first in your first photo. And fantastic on the tamandua. I've yet to see one. The dolphins must have been exciting, too, especially to see so many in their pristine environment.

 

I'm looking forward to more.

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egilio

Interesting trip!

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Livetowander

I didn't realize that tamandua came in different colors!

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wilddog

@@Antee In the first picture of the Orange backed troupial there is a birds nest. Does the nest belong to the troupial?

 

Fascinating report with interesting animals.

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Antee

I didn't realize that tamandua came in different colors!

In fact they can come in both light colors and like this, in darker variants. Sometimes a mix of them. Depending on which population.

They also lives in very different habitats. You can see them in dry forest, savannah and rainforest. As long as there is Ants or termites nearby :)

With some luck you can get close to them as they have bad eyesight, just like the Giant anteater.

Edited by Antee

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Antee

@@Antee In the first picture of the Orange backed troupial there is a birds nest. Does the nest belong to the troupial?

 

Fascinating report with interesting animals.

Oh I see that I did not write this but yes... you are right. The nest belong to the Orange backed troupial.

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Antee

Day 3

"Knock knock" one of the lodge members woke me up as usual at 05:30.

Today we would try a different area in search for the Uakari.
If they were not in their home range, maybe they have gone to another part of the forest.

Instead of going downstream we went upstream with the boat before we landed at the shore and started this morning´s 6 hour walk.

 

This day would be a disaster in terms of two things. More of that later.

 

Almost immediately we heard the "sound of the Amazon".

In Borneo they have the Gibbon´s who makes the amazing sounds in the morning mist. Here in the Amazon, there is no Gibbon´s. Instead another beautiful monkey manages the morning chorus, The Red howler monkey.

More exact, in this area it is the Venezuelan Red howler.

 

We started sneaking towards the amazing sound. A sound that can travel 5km and it is mostly males who makes the noise.

 

A first glimpse of them.

Here you can see how hard it is to make a clear photo of the animals in dense rainforest. We were quite close here... but still only get this view.

 

post-49909-0-96869300-1470591880_thumb.jpg

 

We spend some time here and sneak around to get better views of them.
Red Howlers lives in small groups of 3-9 individuals with mostly one male and the rest females and their offsprings.

Like almost every other species of monkey they are most active early in the morning when they move around high in the canopy in search for todays food.

 

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Close to the Red howlers there was a group och Wolly monkeys. We saw them briefly yesterday but this was a much better view.

This is were the first disaster happened...

My camera battery died!

And my backup was left at the lodge. Catastrophe!!

I took out the battery and managed to get a photo of a very, very cute Wolly monkey youngster!

It looked me in the eyes and was curious about what was going on the ground...

 

post-49909-0-64717800-1470592988_thumb.jpg

 

Then completely dead battery. No more photos this morning.
Of course it would be some great photo opportunities.

 

We studied a group of Saddlebacked Tamarins for a while. They were not very shy and you could get quite close to them. Too bad, no photo of them. I would get a second chance later and I have pictures of them from another day. Luckily :)

 

What I don´t have pictures on is a very impressive Yellow-crowned brush-tailed tree rat (puh...long name for that one...)

The first ever to be seen from my guide. He was very excited!

They are nocturnal but this one was enjoying the daylight by laying on a branch outside it´s tree hole and posing perfectly for 5 minutes before it went down in the hole.

I put a link from the net if you want to see what this Tree rat looks like.

http://www.cjclandandseaphoto.com/images/tah16_yellow-crowned_rat_1430.jpg

 

We didn´t find the Uakaris in this part of the forest either and my guide began to look worried and wonder where they actually were.

 

Back to the lodge for some lunch and rest. This afternoon we would go out fishing. We needed some fish for the dinner and the lodge put their trust in me to fix the food now...

This is were disaster number two appeared.

 

I caught this Piranha, which is great for food. Stupid as I am, I would of course put my finger in the Piranha´s mouth to unhook it... this was a very bad idea!

The Piranha took the chance, quick as a reptile it cut the top of my finger with it´s razor-sharp teeth.

The blood was draining from my finger and the fishing was over...

Some first aid kit and the finger was new again :)

 

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Birds of the day

 

Not very much as half of my day was without camera so i put in a beautiful big butterfly who is all light blue when flying.

 

Menelaus morpho butterfly

 

post-49909-0-17908400-1470595296_thumb.jpg

 

Masked crimson tanager

 

post-49909-0-75313700-1470595303_thumb.jpg

Edited by Antee

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Livetowander

quick as a reptile it cut the top of my finger

I once saw a piranha that had just been hooked. It looked enraged, with darting, calculating eyes. I'm not surprised you got nipped.

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Alexander33

@@Antee

 

Sorry you had a less than ideal day. The Amazon is like that, you know? It manages to give and yet take away at the same time.

 

The sound of the howler monkeys reverberating through the jungle is one of my favorite Amazon memories.

 

We probably all have at least one dead battery story. Mine was on our first morning on our fist safari in South Africa, when the battery died in the middle of our drive. We had some of our best giraffe sightings that morning, and the memories will have to suffice. Since then, I am almost compulsive about my batteries. I have 3 for each camera, with one fully charged in the camera, another fully charged in my pocket, and another that I leave behind at the lodge, just in case. And, yes, the "just in case" did happen to me once, in Peru coincidentally, when I clumsily managed to fall into the river while getting out of my kayak, drowning the battery in my pocket.

 

I do hope you had more for dinner than just that one little piranha.

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Super LEEDS

Quick as a reptile! :D

 

Flat battery and cut finger are disasters yet falling into a caiman infested river at night....? :P

 

Thanks for sharing so far. Really enjoying it.

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Antee

quick as a reptile it cut the top of my finger

I once saw a piranha that had just been hooked. It looked enraged, with darting, calculating eyes. I'm not surprised you got nipped.

My guide told me that this was a normal behavior when you caught Piranha. They always try to snatch your fingers if you approach.

 

He also said he was sorry not to told me before but after... :)

 

But hey, a scar rest of my life from a Piranha. I can use that as a line in the bar :)

Edited by Antee

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Antee

@@Antee

 

Sorry you had a less than ideal day. The Amazon is like that, you know? It manages to give and yet take away at the same time.

 

The sound of the howler monkeys reverberating through the jungle is one of my favorite Amazon memories.

 

We probably all have at least one dead battery story. Mine was on our first morning on our fist safari in South Africa, when the battery died in the middle of our drive. We had some of our best giraffe sightings that morning, and the memories will have to suffice. Since then, I am almost compulsive about my batteries. I have 3 for each camera, with one fully charged in the camera, another fully charged in my pocket, and another that I leave behind at the lodge, just in case. And, yes, the "just in case" did happen to me once, in Peru coincidentally, when I clumsily managed to fall into the river while getting out of my kayak, drowning the battery in my pocket.

 

I do hope you had more for dinner than just that one little piranha.

I totally agree. The real rainforest like this is, both give and takes. That´s why I love the rainforest, both the Amazon and on Borneo, and that´s why I keep coming back.

 

Hehe, nice to see your battery strategy.

 

No more fish for dinner :)

Just potato, rice, pasta and vegetables.

 

But at least I got the final word regarding that Piranha. It tasted good :)

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Antee

Quick as a reptile! :D

 

Flat battery and cut finger are disasters yet falling into a caiman infested river at night....? :P

 

Thanks for sharing so far. Really enjoying it.

Then I have not even mentioned all the mosquitos and my arm who got millions of bites from the sandfly´s at the river shore. It still looks like some disease from out of space.

Not to forget the Ant that bit my middle finger so it basically double in size (a bit exaggerated).

The rainforest both give and take :)

Edited by Antee

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elefromoz

@@Antee, the creepy, crawly, bitey things keep on coming. I'd never considered that someone would put their finger into a Piranhas mouth. All those Dolphins must have been a sight to see, fantastic.

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