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martes, 1 de mayo de 2012

Here we are, this is Paraguay. Amazing.

First I will introduce myself a little bit. My name is Noah Slot, 21 years old and born in the Netherlands. I am studying wildlife management in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. I am in Paraguay for my final thesis, so almost done with school! Today it’s the 28th of April, 2 p.m. and the weather is s**t. No worries. We’ve got loads of cozy places, loads of space, loads of nice volunteers, interns and researchers, a projector and enough DVDs here in the field station of Para la Tierra. I think today it’s going to be ‘2 fast, 2 furious’. Good choice, right?! These afternoons are really relaxing and cozy. Especially after a long, interesting and demanding morning of work. Other, let’s say sunny afternoons, are filled with swimming in one of the most clear lakes I’ve ever seen, playing volleyball with everybody and/or reading on the porch, with jungle sounds in the background. Or listening to reggae, Spanish music and R&B. But at the moment I am the only one who likes that… A little bit more about the research I am working on. I am here together with a fellow student, Nick Pruijn, from my university, to do our final thesis. We’re both from Holland and will be here for 3 months in total. Unfortunately only 3 months. Our final thesis is on the Vertical Stratification of Gracilinanus agilis, Cryptonanus chacoensis and Marmosa constantiae in relation to morphometry and habitat structure in the Cerrado, Transitional Forest and Atlantic Forest habitat types. Clear enough? Basically we’re trying to catch as many opossums as possible to find out whether there is or isn’t a relationship in morphology, occurrence at different heights and preferred vegetation characteristics for each species. This is important to know because, maybe you didn’t know this, opossums have been shown to play an important key role in neotropical forest ecology through being seed predators and dispersers, pollinators, regulators of insect populations and a food source for predators. Therefore, changes in their abundances affect forest regeneration and succession. Thus a very important and interesting animal if you ask me. Besides this, all species are also very cute looking and wicked to see. Especially while they are trying to run away from you as fast as possible, on the thinnest branches you can imagine. We’ve been here for about a month now. Time flies. After loads of preparation work, such as reading books on the porch, swimming and volleyball. …Oh I mean; cutting trails in to the dense forest, placing and hoisting traps in to the trees, hoisting them again because the string snapped, preparing bait, baiting traps, carrying out vegetation measurements, you name it. Finally we’ve started catching animals last week! And that is amazing! We’ve caught about 10 opossums, 2 Marmosa and 8 Cracilinanus so far and loads of other ground, arboreal and canopy rat species. Important and really nice to catch as well, but less important for our study. I can go on for ages, but guys, ‘2 fast, 2 furious’ is waiting for me! I can write whatever I want, but you really have to experience it yourself to know how awesome it is! Words can’t describe it. Para la Tierra, keep up the good work! … And enough beer, that’s always good. Pura Vida, Noah Slot

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