April 30, 2010

Sunsets and Monkeys

The North Face Logo


Written by Dr. Annie Cook, a continuation of her blog post from mid-April.


There is no denying it and I think my facebook photos say it all "I LOVE SUNSETS" and there is no better place to see and photograph sunsets than the Amazon. The sky is a broad arc of blue dotted with cloud. The colour and light remind me of the romance painters and even I could be inspired to take up a brush but fortunately my digital camera whilst not doing the scene justice spares me the disappointment of trying to paint.  The massive expanse of water reflects every nuance of the sky from puffy white cotton to brooding black storm clouds and the pinks, purples, red and yellows of sunset. I find myself expectantly waiting from 5.30pm onwards to see what masterpiece will unfold. It never disappoints and even on evenings when the horizon is blurred by mist the sun throws out a flare of light as it dips below the horizon outlining the clouds in an array of colours. I cannot take credit for any photographic genius for it has not taken any artistic talent to record these magnificent moments.

It has been a good week for work as well as sunsets. I spent a day at the Amazon Cares Jungle Shelter attending to our resident rescue dogs. It was enlightening to work with such a variety of happy, healthy, affectionate animals. It is due to the diligence of  Harry, Gustavo and the rest of the Amazon Cares team that these animals are so well socialised. Especially when you consider the  desperate physical and mental state they arrive in  - unloved, abandoned and often abused. We are currently starting a campaign around Iquitos to encourage animal adoptions and will be putting leaflets regarding our animals around the city. It is my hope that we will get many adopted this year. It has been an auspicious start to the campaign as one of our long term residents Sysy was adopted at the weekend.

I was fortunate to spend the weekend on Monkey Island at the invitation of the founder Gilberto Guerra Reateguiin in order to assess the monkeys current health. The island was established as a sanctuary for orphans of the bushmeat and pet trade and is now home to 42 monkeys including spider, woolly, titi and red howler monkeys, marmosets and tamarins. There have been ongoing problems with mange in the Woolly Monkeys and Amazon Cares is generously donating a bottle of ivermectin to assist with the treatment of this condition. It was a fabulous although back to basics weekend. There is no electricty or running water on the island so it was early nights, early mornings, helping with the chores and baths in the river. It was wonderful to be away from it all for a couple of days although my immune system was unprepared for the onslaught of insects and I will be itching for the next week.
I am back in Iquitos this week and happy to say that the manatee Samiro is recovering well. I only have one day left of my Amazon Adventure and will be sad to leave the forest yet again. It is so rewarding to work with such a variety of animals and a pleasure to work with such professional and devoted people.