Monday, January 01, 2007

Coati crossing road

I often come to the conclusion that wild animals have seen their day in the immediate Santarém area, including our small forest reserve, Bosque Santa Lúcia. Some years ago we never took a walk in the woods without seeing at least sloth and a variety of monkeys. Today seeing fauna is an exception, so much so that I tell visitors that our objective at the Bosque is to show biodiversity of flora, i.e., trees and plants. The truth of the matter is that wild animals continue to inhabit the existing forest but their survival depends on not being seen by anyone, including sympathetic visitors. Then, too, the animal population has been traumatized because most of the neighboring lands have been devastated by bulldozers and chainsaws making way for plantations of dry-land rice and soybeans. Friends make the comment to me that the Bosque must be full of animals now that the surrounding forests have been destroyed. Well, I wish! But we know that most animals need extended habitats much larger than the Bosque.
It is always a pleasant surprise when I see old friends again. The posted image is of a coati (raccoon family) we spotted crossing the road this past week, along with the rest of its big family. I was too busy trying to get a picture but Áurea counted 24 of them. I had stopped the car some distance down the road so as not scare them, the result being poor pictures. This one I was able to edit in such a way that it is maybe usable. I only wish that it had stuck its long tail up in the air, as they normally do. I'll be on the lookout for these beautiful animals again.

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