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Antee

Deep Peruvian Amazon - Tapiche reserve

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lmonmm

Aaahh- the mosquitos and sandflies....I am a magnet for those even at home and I do recall when I went to Peru and did a few rainforest trips (northern area out of Iquitos though not as wild as yours) and the Manu area where we stayed with a village for a few days as one stop (got my "pink eye" treated by the village medicine man during a hike when he chopped off some vine and squeezed the drainage in my eye- I figured what the heck- and dang, it was cured) that I was afraid I wouldn't be let back into the states I looked so awful from all the bites (arms in particular). I did try to cover them as I was going through customs and immigration :)

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Atravelynn

Just started your report, but wanted to say I like the story of the fisherman with the gun. Hope he is still working for the lodge.

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Antee

Sorry for the late report but I have a valid reason. I have spent the last 8 days with the Cheetah´s in the vast plains of Masai Mara ecosystem.

My search for the elusive Uakari Monkey will continue now :)

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wilddog

No doubt the rest of this report will be worth waiting for @@Antee........................................ and hopefully in due course we will hear more about your perspective on the Mara Cheetahs too.

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Antee

Day 4

 

Todays mission was to walk to a lagoon some hours from the river.

Good place to see manatee in the early mornings when they feeding and also the near threatened Black caiman is present in the lagoon.

Of course we had also tuned for the Uakari and whatever we find in the forest.

 

The fantastic sound of Red Howler´s morning call met us immediately.

 

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A forest that has never been logged is a truly majestic place!

 

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Suddenly my guide stopped.

"Can you hear?" he asked me.

And I heard. A tiny sound. like a baby sobbing.

"What is it?" I asked him.

" It is the White faced capuchin, harder to see than the Uakari as they are not very common here".

 

We stayed completely still and let them come to us instead of making noise and try to sneak. A good strategy in the rainforest.

Suddenly one of them are in sight.

 

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He were as curious about me as I was on them.

Food called after a while and he walked away in the canopy.

 

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The ever present Squirrel monkey´s also followed our movements to the lagoon.

 

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I also tried every day to get a proper photo of the Southern amazon red squrrel. We saw many of them during our walks but they could not sit still... not even for a second.

Adding the dense vegetation and it became a mission impossible.

 

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The lagoon was a beautiful place!

Clear fresh water, not the brown, murky thing that´s flow in the river.

 

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We went out in the boat to see if we were able to see some residents of the lagoon.

 

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The best place for Black caimans was in the far end of the lagoon where the vegetation in the water is most dense and gives the best protection.

 

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We went in as far as we could but didn´t see anything.

When we had turned over and was almost out on the lagoon again I suddenly spotted a head in the vegetation just beside the boat. A huge one eyed Black caiman.

 

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Black caiman´s is classified as near threatened.

Overhunting in the past because of meat and leather is the main purpose but they are recovering at the moment.

Black caimans is the largest reptile in the neotropical ecozone and can be as long as 6m (20ft). With a huge head they can get larger prey.

Few ecological studies have been carried out on the species but as a top predator they have an important role in the ecosystem.

 

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My guide also saw a quick glimpse of one Manatee. I only managed to see the ring on the water. Best time for them is early morning when they usually eat.

 

When we got back my guide had a surprise for me. He asked if I wanted to see some nocturnal monkey´s. He knew where they lived and it was 20-30 minutes walk from the lagoon. Of course I couldn´t resist the offer :)

During my walk I hoped so much that they were at home...

 

...and they were!

 

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Nancy Ma´s night monkey.

A species who lives in northern Peru and northwestern Brazil. They are territorial and lives in pair with their young.

Very cute looking!

 

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They stayed close to their home and waiting for the night to hunt insects and also gorging on flowers, nectar and fruits.

 

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Alot of species but we failed once again to see the Uakari´s.

This part of the forest was not their favorite habitat but they were seen here occasionally.

Katoo, my guide was now really concerned and he asked me if I was in mode for a whole day out tomorrow from dawn to dusk with packed lunch.

He said: "we have to find them before you leave"

Of course I was into this!

 

Birds of the day

 

Alot of birds in the lagoon.

 

Wattled Jacana

 

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Horned screamer

Huge bird that was really common around the lagoon

 

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Boat billed heron

a nocturnal bird that is hard to see but they roosting around the lagoon and groups of juveniles were present.

 

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Cormorants (Not sure which species)

 

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Turkey vulture

 

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The bird of the day was this Cream colored woodpecker.

 

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Tomorrow, my last day, a whole day out!

Edited by Antee

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Atravelynn

The Uakari quest is producing some other fascinating monkeys, and photos of them as well. I think that's how it is supposed to work. Search for A and then uncover B, C, D!

 

You look so different holding the fish from your avatar!. How many of us can say we got bitten by a pirahna and then show the scar?! Glad you did not need to be medivacced out, though.

 

The search continues....

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Antee

Day 5

 

It was dark outside when I awakened already at 05:00.

My guide couldn´t sleep anymore and he thought it was as good to start the day's tour. A full day out in the rainforest in search for the elusive Red Uakari.

This was my last day and it was now or never.

 

We focused on the same area as the first day. A swampy, humid, dense vegetation area full of mosquitos... with a special palmtree whose fruits Uakari´s like.

 

I had two guides today, Katoo and Raoul. Both of them very very good and knowledge. Unfortunately speaks Raoul only spanish except for a few words.

It was Raoul who, in the dark, almost stepped on this Bothrops atrox, or Lancehead snake.

 

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A highly venom snake.

Wikipedia says: "Their venom consists mostly of hemotoxin, a toxic protein that affects the circulatory and nervous system; it destroys red blood cells, and sometimes loss of memory occurs. They are much feared because their venom is particularly lethal and fast acting. Presently, treatment is usually possible if the victim receives medical attention soon enough.[10] Commonly, bites from this snake cause symptoms including nausea, blackouts, and paralysis. In almost all cases, temporary and sometimes permanent loss of local or 'short term' memory were reported."

 

Not really a nice guy...

 

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When we poked it away it got an outbreak and tried to stab widely.

 

Squirrel monkeys followed our movements as usual.

 

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At 07:30 we stopped to have breakfast.and that was when it happened...

The sound of Red Uakaris!

I couldn´t hear them but both Katoo and Raoul was sure... they were heading towards us.

 

@@Anomalure you will love the next chapter of this story :)

 

We waited another 15 minutes and then began to sneak as silent as possible.

There it was! finally! a wild, living, Red Uakari!

 

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Seen by few people.

The bald uakari is restricted to seasonal floodplain forest and other wooded habitats near water in the western Amazon of Brazil and Peru.

Their habitat has never been big as they need this special environment and both logging and hunting have made the population declined at least 30% over the past 30 years.

Their status is today VULNERABLE

 

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It was fantastic to see them. A big troop of around 25-30 individuals traveling through the canopy.

They can travel up to 5km per day and they are territorial.

They were jumping between the palmtress. Young ones, older ones, whole familys.

 

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It has been established a few protected areas for the species as these intellegent primates are on the verge of extinction but Tapiche reserve is basically the only place in the world where you have reasonably chance to see them.

They have a reasonably safe haven here although Katoo (guide and owner of the reserve) have to fight each day to protect the area against poaching.

 

A mother with her young.

 

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As you can see this species is characterized by a very short tail and it relies on arm strength and leg strength to maintain balance instead of a long tail which is common among primates that lives in the canopy.

 

Their favorite food!

 

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It is extremely common for the Uakaris to have Malaria as they live in swampy areas.

When a Uakari have malaria so pale face and no one wants to mate with them. The redder face the better for mating and is an indication of a strong and healthy animal.

 

This one looks healthy...

 

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We watched them for around 20 minutes before they were gone. Such a show and I was feeling very privileged to finally have seen them!

 

The time was only 08:30 in the morning so what to do rest of the day :)

We didn´t stay out the whole day and we came back til lunch.

But it was not over yet...

 

We saw more Wolly monkeys. For instance this big male.

Here you can see the difference between a long tail and a short one... :)

 

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To my great happiness the Saddleback Tamarins decided to do one more visit. Last time I was out of battery...

 

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Some relaxing time in the lodge and possibly an even more relaxing time on the river in afternoon when we just let the boat drift with the river while the sun went down.

 

Nothing new except for the Yellow spotted amazon river turtle, another VULNERABLE species. The second largest turtle in the Amazon they can live an impressive 70 years.

 

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When I was in Tapiche they were laying eggs on the sandy riverbanks. Unfortunately almost everything were collected by the local people. The locals could sell these eggs for 1 USD to use in drinks etc. etc.

Easy money but devastating for the turtles who is now almost gone.

I saw alot of boats just waiting for the dark so they could come into the reserve and plunder the turtle nests.We chased away some but it is impossible for one man to control this huge area.

The situation is so critically that Katoo and Tapiche reserve now collect their own Turtle eggs and hatch them at the lodge to release them when the shell is hard. They released over 1000 turtles last year.

The problem is to get ahead of the plunderes...

 

Yellow spotted amazon river turtle

 

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My last night and I had a new friend in the cabin.

Some sort of Katytid.

 

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Todays birds.

 

My guide was very excited about this one. A seldom seen bird and a sought after among birders.

 

Dot backed Antbird

 

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Highly territorial bird who only lives in primary forest.

They don´t eat Ants but they follow Army ants as they Scare up insects who is then easy preys.

 

post-49909-0-46569500-1471895218_thumb.jpg

 

Jabiru Stork

 

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Lettered Aracari

 

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Summary.

 

This was my end to Tapiche reserve.

Totally I saw 17 species of mammals (not counting bats as they are so hard to identify)

 

* Common Opossum (Night boatcruise along the river)

* Southern Tamandua (Early morning walk in the forest)
* Three-toed Sloth (Boatcruise on the way to the lodge)

* Yellow-crowned brush-tailed tree rat (Late morning in the forest. Really cool sighting. Posing nicely on a branch for 5 minutes)

* Unidentified rat in the kitchen

* Southern Amazon Red Squirrel (Saw them on all four morning walks)

* Neotropical pygmy squirrel (One fast glimpse on a morning walk)

* Tucuxi dolphin (so many of them in the area)

* Pink river dolphin (So many of them in the area)

* Bolivian Squirrel monkey (Everyday)

* Venezuelan Red howler monkey (2 of 4 days)

* Brown Capuchin monkey or Large headed Capuchin (3 of 4 days)

* White fronted capuchin (2 of 4 days)

* Saddleback Tamarin (2 of 4 days)

* Wolly monkey (3 of 4 days, not sure which species of them, silver, brown or grey...)

* Red Uakari (1 of 4 days)

* Nancy Ma's night monkey (1 of 4 days)

 

Add to that a thriving birdlife and species like Black Caimans, Spectacled caimans, Yellow spotted amazon river turtle and alot of cool insects and spiders...

The most common animal of all was the ever present Mosquitos :)

 

What I missed and have in plan.

 

* Saki monkey.

They are quite easy to see in the area but i didn´t have time for them as the Red Uakari was time consuming.

 

* Collared Peccary.

Saw fresh footprints and could even smell them. We missed them with minutes.

 

* Capybara.

I thought I would see them but no. Alot of footprints along the riverbanks.

 

*Titi monkey.

We heard them. But as they are living in thick bushes in the lower part of the forest they are hard to see. We failed.

 

If you are curious about the place and/or want the real deal and have some adventurous mindset, Tapiche is definetely worth a visit. The best of all is that you really support the forest, local people and the owner Katoo who does his best to protect his land from other interests.

 

Here is a link to their own video about the place.

 

Edited by Antee

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SafariChick

@@Antee YAY! You finally saw them and on the last day! Sounds like they put on a wonderful visit for you, so glad you got to see them! What an enjoyable report - thank you so much for sharing it! Never heard of this place before but now it is on my radar :)

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michael-ibk

Fantastic you found the Uakari - really a privilege to see them. The Tamarins are almost impossibly cute. A really fantastic report, I always love these tales about unknown areas. And compliments on your photos - you did very well in this challenging environment.

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lmonmm

I've loved this report all along, but there were lots of "holy cow" and "OMG" going on in my living room as I went through your last day. I was lazy and didn't google the Uakari but as soon as I saw them....I totally got your determination. I've seen pictures, but wow....how awesome for you to see them. Oh and to finally get a picture of the Tamarin. Your roommate was adorable- little green guy. Seriously, I loved this as it brought back many fond memories of Peru (despite the mosquitos and OMG- the humidity). Thank you so much for sharing this! :)

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Livetowander

Nice job with the report and the pictures. And thanks for the link to the lodge video.

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Alexander33

@@Antee

 

Hooray! So glad you got to see the red uakari -- and on your last day, no less. I'd say they were worth the wait. The saddleback tamarins were also a great find, especially since your camera was ready to go this time around.

 

I think you had a very good visit -- and I am glad to learn about Tapiche. I am also struck by the difference in the types of species that you saw in the northern Peruvian Amazon versus those that I saw in the southern part. It definitely shows the immense diversity that the Amazon offers. You've inspired me to visit the north someday.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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SafariChick

 

 

The Tamarins are almost impossibly cute.

 

agree!

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Anomalure

@@Antee Wow! This is excellent--I'm really happy that you saw the uakaris! Now I just have to get there soon... :)

 

Also, do you know how often the Amazonian Manatees are seen? They would be another key species for me there.

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Antee

Fantastic you found the Uakari - really a privilege to see them. The Tamarins are almost impossibly cute. A really fantastic report, I always love these tales about unknown areas. And compliments on your photos - you did very well in this challenging environment.

Yes, I feel privileged. But I had to fight for it too :)

 

I agree, unknown areas is always a pleasure to read about and also to visit.

I probably will be back in some unknown-rainforest next summer for some other target species.

In 3 weeks I go to Mongolia and it will definitely be unknown areas.

 

Thanx for encouragement but I´m sure you had done alot better with your camera :)

I'm waiting for you to visit the rainforest.

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Antee

I've loved this report all along, but there were lots of "holy cow" and "OMG" going on in my living room as I went through your last day. I was lazy and didn't google the Uakari but as soon as I saw them....I totally got your determination. I've seen pictures, but wow....how awesome for you to see them. Oh and to finally get a picture of the Tamarin. Your roommate was adorable- little green guy. Seriously, I loved this as it brought back many fond memories of Peru (despite the mosquitos and OMG- the humidity). Thank you so much for sharing this! :)

There is something special with the Red uakaris. Their look, their red-old-man-look-alike-face and their furry body with no tail.

You can´t stop looking and they almost can´t stop looking at you :)

Too sad they are still declining and soon are gone.

 

Glad I brought back some memories for you :)

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Antee

@@Antee

 

Hooray! So glad you got to see the red uakari -- and on your last day, no less. I'd say they were worth the wait. The saddleback tamarins were also a great find, especially since your camera was ready to go this time around.

 

I think you had a very good visit -- and I am glad to learn about Tapiche. I am also struck by the difference in the types of species that you saw in the northern Peruvian Amazon versus those that I saw in the southern part. It definitely shows the immense diversity that the Amazon offers. You've inspired me to visit the north someday.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

 

Thanx for reading!

 

Yes, they were worth the wait :)

I haven´t been in the southern part of Peruvian amazon but it sounds exciting that there is difference between the areas.

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Antee

@@Antee YAY! You finally saw them and on the last day! Sounds like they put on a wonderful visit for you, so glad you got to see them! What an enjoyable report - thank you so much for sharing it! Never heard of this place before but now it is on my radar :)

 

Not many have heard of Tapiche reserve. Only the most inveterate mammal geeks :)

Glad I´m putting it on your radar.

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Antee

@@Antee Wow! This is excellent--I'm really happy that you saw the uakaris! Now I just have to get there soon... :)

 

Also, do you know how often the Amazonian Manatees are seen? They would be another key species for me there.

 

Yepp, you have to go to Tapiche. Red Uakaris are fascinating creatures.

 

As I understand it, you have a fairly good chance of seeing the Manatee in the lagoon.

There is a watch tower just beside the lagoon and with binoculars you have a very good view over the lagoon.

 

Very early morning is what counts. Manatees have early breakfast :)

During the day, there is hardly no movements from them.

 

If you target them and go in the dark to the lagoon (It is a couple of hours walk) or sleep over in the tower (my guide used to do it when he is targeting Manatee) I think you have a fairly good chance of seeing them.

In fact, my guide Raoul spotted some movements in the water with his binoculars when we were there and he identified it as a Manatee. Myself, I only saw the rings on the water.

Edited by Antee

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elefromoz

@@Antee, fantastic, and your friend Katoo is working his heart out there to do the right thing. Must be heartbreaking watching those eggs getting plundered repeatedly. Now really looking forward to hear about Mongolia.

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offshorebirder

Just catching up a bit - WOW a LANCEHEAD VIPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

For me, that would be the sighting of the trip!

 

And you are getting some great birds too - Boat-billed Herons often elude birders seeking them.

 

And great primates you had - Night Monkey photo opportunities are precious!

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Antee

Just catching up a bit - WOW a LANCEHEAD VIPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

For me, that would be the sighting of the trip!

 

And you are getting some great birds too - Boat-billed Herons often elude birders seeking them.

 

And great primates you had - Night Monkey photo opportunities are precious!

Yes, I was also thrilled about the Lancehead as I love reptiles & amphibians almost as much as mammals... :)

No Anaconda though which was a minor disappointment.

 

Tapiche reserve would be a heaven för birders. Most of them just don´t know that it exists...

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Atravelynn

You saw the Uakari! And photos as well. What a tremendous success. The ones in your photos look like they'll attract mating partners with their red color. Nice job with the macro on the Katytid.

Edited by Atravelynn

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