Monkey business – exploring the Amazon

Project & Pod News / 29 January 2024 Monkey business – exploring the Amazon

Deep in the heart of the lush Amazon rainforest, our volunteers spend their days helping to conserve the forest through research, monitoring and community work. 

The Amazon rainforest is home to 10% of all known wildlife species and is an incredibly important carbon store which helps to stabilise the climate and plays a critical role in the global water cycle. 

Sadly, the Amazon is under huge pressure from deforestation and 17% of the forest has already been lost. The main reason for cutting the trees down is to turn the land into fields for cattle ranches for the beef industry and areas are also destroyed through logging and mining activities. 

Our Amazon Conservation project is looking at ways which degraded rainforest can be restored and regenerated back to original rich diversity levels. Over the last 20 years research they have been delighted with how quickly animals return to the forest as it grows and develops. Regenerating forests are often neglected in conservation management plans, which tend to only focus on primary (undisturbed) rainforest. 

Studying the value of regenerating forest is increasingly important as most of the world’s rainforest (over two - thirds) has been subjected to human disturbance. Regenerating forests provide the potential to preserve biodiversity, as well as acting as a buffer for primary forest areas.

Our volunteer trip is an amazing experience to join the team as you gain hands on conservation and research skills whilst living is an eco tropical research centre, immersed in nature. Each day our volunteers explore the forest, often with amazing wildlife encounters - volunteer Blanca gives us an insight into what you may find: 

“It was our third day, and it was warm and sunny when we decided to walk along the surrounding trails. After a long morning trek through the rainforest and took a break to drink water. We noticed a small blurry shape walking along the branches beside us, we heard the leaves falling to the floor and the sound of an animal chewing. Then, we spotted a small, long-tailed primate with two long white tufts of hairs hanging down from its head. It was the Emperor Tamarin!

Its scientific name is Saguinus imperator, and it is considered a vulnerable species by the IUCN. Its heavily furred tail is a reddish-brown colour, and it is non-prehensile. Its white, curly-ended moustache of both males and females, contrasts with their black face following a speckled red or grey-brown body. They feed on fruits during the wet season and flower nectar or tree sap in the dry season.

It often forms a mixed troop with related species, such as the Saddleback Tamarin. Each species responds to the other’s alarm calls if a predator is detected nearby. It is usually challenging to spot them because they generally live very high in the trees. This sighting was especially exciting since this species cannot be found at higher altitudes in Manu!”

For your chance to help conserve the amazon, spot some incredible wildlife and live in the rainforest head over to our Amazon Conservation project page to find out more.