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martes, 20 de enero de 2015

Foraging Critters...my internship at PLT

Hi there, my name is Abi and I’m just finishing up my internship here at Para la Tierra. I’ve been asked to write a blog post about my time here. My project was originally going to compare the foraging habits of small mammals in areas of high and low human-presence; using seeds trays to determine the giving up density (GUD) and from that the perceived risk. Unfortunately, in the areas where that was possible, there weren’t enough small mammals foraging the trays for me to get sufficient results. Luckily, another intern (Holly) was regularly catching a variety of small mammals in Sherman traps as part of her project studying how a section of the Cerrado is recovering after a fire. Since wildlife living in a recovering habitat is often more vulnerable to the environment, I decided to look at abiotic factors, such as the average temperature and whether or not that affects the foraging levels each day, and I am currently analysing these results. Drinks around the fire and film nights were great fun in the evenings, as were the Saturday night parties. These parties could be birthday parties, or parties which charge entry to raise money for chicken coops or hospital bills. The people from local towns and villages set up a patch of land with speakers and lights, sell beer and dance. As a break from the reserve (and to renew the date stamp on my tourist visa) I’ve been on three trips around the country. The first was a trip to the capital city Asuncion with Holly, India and Vivi, the other three Interns. On the 18th November we went on a PLT group trip to the Chaco. The Chaco is described by some as a ‘green hell’ due to the extreme heat and humidity but despite this, or perhaps because of this, the wildlife is so uniquely varied and rich that we simply had to go for a look. We saw amazing wildlife that is unlikely to be seen on the reserve, the highlights for me included: Capybara, flamingos, armadillos, racoon, crab-eating fox, white-lipped peccaries and a fantastic number of bird species. My third trip took me to Iguazu falls in Argentina with India and Lore to see one of the wonders of the natural world. The falls were unbelievable, and we also got to see Itaipu dam, the second largest hydroelectric dam in the world.

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