2 hours ago
I suppose snout to beak will have to do...
Arriving again to Iquitos we knew what we wanted: to go as deep as we could into the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Comprising the wedge between the Marañón and Ucayali rivers before they meet to form the Amazon River, it is the second largest reserve in Peru and fourth largest in all of South America. It is the largest reserve of várzea forest (seasonally inundated floodplain forest), and being there in the rainy season that meant the journey would be almost entirely by small watercraft. All the better to encounter my Amazon river brethren, I hoped!
Though it took some frustrating negotiations and even a last minute change in guide when his double dealing was uncovered, we eventually made our way a good distance into the reserve. Leaving from Nauta we spent several days heading up the Yanayacu River to Lake El Dorado. To my eternal regret, though we witnessed a spectacular and seemingly endless parade of dolphins, both pink and grey, and monkeys, of all kinds, among many other species, no manatee was among them.
While I may not have had any aquatic bovinae on which to work my charms, I was no less unresistible to the wildlife I did meet, as you can see here. Along with the many secrets of the jungle that my parrot friend shared with me, she assured me as well that it is simply the unfortunate reality that manatees keep to the shore in rainy season as dry. Now with the water so high that the shore is pushed much further back beyond the wall of trunk submerged trees that we couldn't push past, that meant meeting one would be quite a feat.
Disappointing as that may have been, even our proximity to them was electrifying. The Reserve has become the refuge of many animals escaping the ravages of encroaching and intensifying industrial human development and exploitation, and seeing first hand that they at least have somewhere they could bob and float in relative safety was beautiful all its own. I shared with my parrot friend some unfortunate realities facing animals beyond this her protected tropical home, and as you can see she was veritably scandalized!