THE AMAZON RESEARCH CENTER
In 2007 Amazonia Expeditions launched its new Tahuayo River Amazon Research Center (TRARC), a long-term conservation initiative undertaken in consultation with government offices in Iquitos (Loreto, Peru), Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Tahuayo River villages’ Comite de Gestion approved the undertaking at its May 2007 meeting in return for the facility’s sharing of project findings with the region’s indigenous villages.
The Research Center initiative was developed to promote new collaborative projects in conservation biology, environmental studies, cultural anthropology, and more in the Area de Conservacion Regional Comunal de Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo (ACRCTT). Auxiliary support is provided by TRARC projects that bear particular promise toward helping promote sustainable developments among ribereños culture in this large and precious portion of western Amazonia. Work with our scientific board members, for example, will augment villagers’ knowledge of their rainforest plants, while progressively illuminating the spectacularly diverse plant communities of ACRCTT for modern science.
Current research on primates is helping to safeguard the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo’s spectacular primate fauna: 16 species representing every South American primate family and spanning the continent’s range of body size. Recent observations suggest that the new approaches to conservation at ACRCTT will be important for area primates. Primate census of the trail grid was initiated in 2007 and continues to the present time. Students and tourists can choose to assist in the census or in habituation of particular social groups of each of six large-bodied species of monkeys.
This work is occurring on a research trail grid located behind the Research Center Lodge. During all-day follows of particular social groups, volunteers’ work includes progressively more systematic and detailed records of data for contribution to cumulative primate databases.
The trail grid behind the research center lodge covers 55 miles (+70 km) spread over more than 1000 acres (2200 hec). It is the largest trail system offered in the Amazon. It is the best hike known in the Amazon for viewing primates in their natural environment. Twelve species of primates have significant populations on the grid. Other mammals living on the grid include: coati, tamandua, giant anteater, tapir, peccary (2 species), deer (2 species), ocelot, jaguar, paca, agouti, agouchi, armadillo, pygmy tree squirrel, Amazon tree squirrel, opossum (many species), rat (many species), sloth (2 species), kinkajou, tayra, and bat (approx 70 species).
(Legend to use beneath jaguar camera photos) Our motion activated night vision cameras have documented a large population of jaguar living on the trail grid as well as puma.
Large Cats on the trail grid behind the Research Center, taken by camera traps