wake in the morning to the growling howls of monkeys. Deep
and distant, their voices carry over the rain forest canopy,
through treetops scented vanilla with orchids, past branches
clothed in bromeliads, and over water the color of tea and
creamed coffee, waters that nourish the Peruvian Amazon."
motorized aluminum canoe, we cruise up the black water Rio
Tahauyo to the Quebrada Blanco, a white-water seasonal stream.
As the water narrows, the forest seems to quicken. Strangler
figs flow over their hosts like melting candles, trees hang
heavy with the nests of ants, wasps, termites, and birds.
Orange-crested birds call hoatzins, whose young sport clawed
wings like the prehistoric archaeopteryx, hiss down from
swamp-drowned trees. Pink freshwater dolphins surface near
to the canoe, open the tops of their heads and gasp."
be released in March, 2000: "Encantado: Pink Dolphin of
the Amazon." Written by Sy Montgomery. Published by Simon
and Schuster. This book is about the tales and folk lores
of the pink dolphin and was researched while at the Amazonia
know the far western lowland forests of the Amazon basin,
found in Peru, as the "green paradise" of the Amazon. Here
we can find the greatest diversity of flora and fauna known
on the planet. Within this region there exist some areas
of such exceptional diversity that the Government has conferred
"reserve" status. The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve, in Peru's
Department of Loreto, is a magnificent example. The reserve
was organized in 1991 to protect breeding range of the rare
red uakari monkey. Subsequent scientific research, much
of it done by scientists of the University of Florida, has
established the reserve as having one of the world's richest
diversity of life. Michael Valqui has found that the region
has the greatest mammal diversity of any region so studied
in all of the Amazon. Why are some regions of the Amazon
blessed with such megadiversity? Scientists note three factors
that may play a role in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo. Studies
suggest that this region is a pleistocene refugia. That
is, during the last ice age, when most of the Amazon became
a dry savannah, this region remained forested. The river
dynamics here also serve to form island like effects, isolating
some populations. And finally, the reserve contains a diverse
range of Amazon ecosystems, within relatively close proximity
of each other.