The Wolf Of The River – The Giant River Otter
The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area is home to several endangered species including the Giant River Otter (as listed by the IUCN). Despite shrinking populations in other regions, here in the Tahuayo Region, these amazing creatures have made an incredible rebound over the past decade. But this recovery was not an accident. It was a direct result of the successful introduction of community-based ecotourism initiatives in this region.
Also known as the Lobo Del Rio “River Wolf” the Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the world’s largest otter. At some 6 feet long, it lives only in the rivers and streams of the Amazon Rainforest. While the Giant River Otter is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List (2008). Here on the Tahuayo, the population is relatively abundant. Many different family groups are frequently spotted by our guests. Sadly, this was not always the case. When we first began working in the Tahuayo region over 30 years ago, Giant River Otter sightings were quite rare. Hunting for their pelts by local people had largely driven them from the area.
For years, we worked closely with the local communities along the Tahuayo encouraging and teaching the long-term benefits of conservation vs the short-term gains of hunting. For example, instead of hunting, we would collaborate with locals to help build trails, track wildlife, work in maintenance, construction, and work as guides. It took years to carefully maintain this partnership and trust with local communities. However, in the end, all this work paid off as we were finally able to end the hunting of river otters and (largely decrease hunting activities overall) in the Tahuayo River Basin.
Giant river otters are present year-round on the Tahuayo, however, July, August, and September are the perfect time to see these incredible animals at both our Tahuayo Lodge & Research Center Lodge as the quickly falling water levels make them easier to spot.
To learn more about these incredible animals please enjoy the presentation below by Amazonia founder Dr. Paul Beaver for the Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival (KVIFF), 2021.
Do you know of other tourism initiatives that have been successful at restoring endangered animal populations? Let us know in the comments below!
Our time in the jungle was an absolute highlight on our trip to Peru! Truly amazing! …Again, we had the most wonderful time. Almost more than words can say. The jungle and the Tahuayo Lodge hold very special places in our hearts and CAN NOT WAIT to return. Thank you again for offering such an amazing trip.
Our trip was INCREDIBLE. The lodge was great, the food was amazing, and the staff were all so friendly. We loved our stays at the B&B, the main lodge, and the ARC.
Tia & Paula
It was incredible and a trip of a lifetime Paul! My sister Paula and I had an amazing time and loved everything — your facilities and staff are top notch and I want to come back with my husband and daughters!!