With a laden rucksack and my mind buzzing with anticipation, I head off to London Heathrow. Before I know it (after three flights, two boats and a hefty walk) I’ll be immersed in the Amazon rainforest. I think I’ll have to pinch myself to know it’s real.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be working as a scientist with the British Schools Exploring Society in the Pacaya-Samiria reserve, Peru. It’s the largest protected area in Peru, and essentially a wilderness with very few visitors. A lot of native Peoples rely on the reserve for their basic needs. Our main scientific goal is to continue baseline surveys, to collect data on a number of key species groups. These are generally species near the top of their food chains, as this gives an overall indication of the health of the entire ecosystem. Our main species will be: Primates, Pink River Dolphins, Black Caiman, Macaws and if we’re lucky, Cats.
The other main goal is youth development, we’re taking out 58 young people ages 16-19, who are all really keen to learn. For most of the expedition, I will be based at a science camp, on the edge of a ‘cocha’, which is a kind of ox-bow lake. It also gives us the chance to experiment with some of our own science work, including pit-fall traps, butterfly traps, camera traps and tree surveys (which I’m pretty keen on!).
This kind of data has never been more important. In the last decade, there have been two major droughts in the Amazon. The rainforest isn’t normally associated with the word drought, and the effect they have had is unprecedented. More than this though, is the awareness that will be created in the young people and their families. So all in all, there’s a great opportunity to make a positive impact, and for this reason, I hope you read the blog!
*Disclaimer: there should be a blog sent back via satellite phone, but it’s the rainforest, no guarantees!
LINK: www.jamesborrell.co.uk – navigate to the Home Page and click on the great big satellite map, it will take you to any updates.
Thanks for reading!