The Amazon: There and Back Again [Video]

Catch up with the Trekking the Planet team as Darren and Sandy review the second half of their time in the Amazon basin. In this video, you will learn about a project that is having some success in protecting the Amazon rainforest. You will also see giant otters, fresh water dolphins, monkeys and a host of wild birds.

If you missed our first video about the Amazon, watch The Amazon: An Unexpected Journey.

Full Disclosure: We paid full price for our stay and did not receive any remuneration for this story.

You can learn more about Xixuau here.

Having trouble? Try one of our alternative sites. Vimeo or DailyMotion.

Transcript:
0:12 In our last video, we provided an update for the first half of our time in the Amazon region
0:17 of Brazil. In this video, we will be covering the second
0:19 half of our visit, focusing on our experience in the Reserva Xixuau-Xiparina and the 100
0:24 or so inhabitants who live here. This reserve is under the administration and
0:29 protection of a Brazilian organization called the Amazon Association, which was formed in
0:34 1992 by and for the benefit of the native inhabitants of the region.
0:40 A casual glance of the surrounding area using Google Earth shows what happens when appropriate
0:45 steps are not taken. This is called the fishbone effect and it
0:49 occurs when people illegally cut trees on either side of a road.
0:53 Unfortunately, this occurs throughout the Amazon region.
1:04 In the year 2000, a young Italian biologist named Emanuela Evangelista came to the Xixuau
1:07 to do her thesis on the giant river otters of the reserve.
1:13 She since expanded her research into other species of aquatic mammals, such as fresh
1:17 water dolphins who often work together with the otters.
1:22 Hunted for their pelts, the Otter was once the most endangered mammal in South America.
1:38 Though still threatened by commercial fishing in the area, dwindling habitat and pollution,
1:43 the otter has made a comeback. Over the years, the camera crews from National
1:51 Geographic, PBS, BBC, German National Television and Italian National Television have all come
1:57 to film documentaries here of the otters and other wildlife.
2:13 Financed and organized by the Amazon Charitable Trust, the Community Botany project was recently
2:17 launched with representation from the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Kew Botanical Gardens
2:21 and the National Institute of Amazon Research. From the beginning, this was a partnership
2:26 with the local communities to give them the skills to map and inventory the flora in this
2:31 remote region. In Oct of 2012, four researchers combined
2:36 with four members of the local community began the first phase of the project.
2:41 Researches collected plant samples along a straight 5km path through the forest.
2:45 These samples were sent to Japan, New York, London, Sao Paulo and Manaus for comparison
2:51 and possible identification of new species. Beyond the obvious scientific interests, the
2:57 team also used the time to map sources for sustainable use and income of area.
3:15 In addition to the Association, the people here formed a co-operative, which recently
3:19 completed the construction of five maloca lodges in the style of the local Indians.
3:24 Almost all of the adults who live in Xixuau are members of this cooperative and share
3:28 in the profits generated by it, while serving as guides, cooks, boat captains and maids.
3:34 The very livelihood of these people is now dependant on maintaining the area is a sustainable
3:38 way, protecting it from large-scale commercial fishing, wholesale development and illegal
3:58 logging.


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