Friday, May 16, 2008

Collared anteater, continued

After leaving the collared anteater to what I considered to be its last breath, I went on to the reception center, where I told Cleuson, the caretaker, about the animal. What he said surprised me because I discovered that the anteater hadn't been hit by a vehicle. It had been attacked by three dogs the day before! Cleuson happened to come by on his bicycle at the time to see the anteater fighting for its life. He said that he tried to get the dogs off the wild animal but the anteater had managed to hook one of his claws inside one of the dog's mouth and wouldn't let go. Then too the other two dogs were attacking, so Cleuson decided not to get into the middle of a potentially dangerous situation for him. I should have asked for more details, but I wasn't interested in hearing everything there was to know. I've said it before and I'll say it again, wild animals don't have a chance of survival after man has set foot in its territory. It's a question of time before they all disappear from the area. Terror stories of what happened to them are abound. Sloth with their babies on their backs being burned alive as the forest is readied for mechanized agriculture; crested caracaras and vultures feeding carrion of snakes and other animals after the burning; birds poisoned by insecticides and herbicides; hunters killing everything that moves; and dogs forming their own hunting parties. So it goes, the law of the jungle, so to speak. On the way out, I didn't look very closely to see if the collared anteater had moved from where I left it. If it were there, I didn't see it. I can fantasize that it survived! In order not to face Maria's Lake again, I took a side road that up until recently has been nothing more than a path for walkers and bikers. It is now used by numerous drivers, who like myself, are desperate to get back and forth to their properties. It's become a muddy mess and I nearly got stuck twice. I couldn't help noticing that there were demarcation stakes placed every 8-10 meters on the edge of the secondary forest. Lots for sale! There are now about 25 million of us human beings in the Amazon now. How much of the Amazon forest and its wildlife will be left in the years to come?


Sandpiper said...

What a beautiful little creature and a sad story. I hope it was able to gather its strength and survive.

There is nothing that damages the earth, nature, and wildlife the way man can. We are supposed to be the intelligent species, but sometimes, "Ya just gotta wonder."

Gil said...

Events like this often happen...the same in the Transpaneira, or even along the Alter do chao road. I would suggest you to use the skeleton in the museum. I think a room for a amazon skeleton collection in the museum would be great. If you do it feel confortable to name it after my wife-to-be.


gil serique

Arthur Alexander said...

I took a several looks on this post, always looking to the poor sad tamandua. After it, I realize that its character reminds me a cartoon called Flag(Bandeira), exhibited in Anima Mundi 2007, showing an anteater leaving its forest in fire to live in a big city among humans and other animals like dogs and cats. A funny way to deal with problems like deforesting and urban contrasts and your image of the poor anteater fainted represents perfectly the cartoon.

Too bad I couldn't find a link to show the video, maybe we won't see it again too soon.

~Regina~ said...

I stumbled upon your blog quite accidentally. As a student who visited the Bosque during a college trip to work at the Pastoral do Menor, I have been back-reading your posts and find them fascinating. This one struck me as particularly heartbreaking. It's one thing to let nature run its course of which death is a natural part of. But when human beings impact their environment in such major ways as illustrated here, we are no longer *part* of nature, but rather a force entirely destructive of it. This is just another example of the destructive power of humans over nature.

I will definitely continue to read your blog. I'm delighted to have found it.

Steven Alexander said...

Sandpiper, I was hoping that it had survived but no such luck. The stench of a dead animal and presence of vultures said it all.

Gil, I'll look for the skull later on! I'll be happy to name it after your future bride.

Regina, good to have you back in touch with us in Santarem. Thanks for reading my blog.

Daniel, I'd love to see the story.

Hort Log said...

Hi Steve,

I enjoy your blog and truly feel for this anteater - one of my favourite animals. We have an equivalent here in far east - the Pangolin.

Its really cool to run a forest reserve - I am hoping to save enough to buy a piece of forest too - but its a long shot.

Anonymous said...

The really arge anteaters are doomed to extinction

They are simply too big for an insect feeding species

The smaller species will survive most of what we have to throw at them

If you haven't noticed, it is mostly the largest of lifeforms that suffer the most when environments change, and the smallest always survive

A good example i could use is the dinosaurs of which the biggest went extinct and the smallest still flit around today, during that age the tiny rat like mammals had no problems adapting

Stop trying to protect species that are going extinct, even if humanity caused their extinction, ESPECIALLY if humanity endangered them

You are messing with things no one fully understands, and that usually results in horrible horrible things