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?