The Amazon: There and Back Again [Video]

Catch up with the Trekking the Planet team as Darren and Sandy review the second half of their time in the Amazon basin. In this video, you will learn about a project that is having some success in protecting the Amazon rainforest. You will also see giant otters, fresh water dolphins, monkeys and a host of wild birds.

If you missed our first video about the Amazon, watch The Amazon: An Unexpected Journey.

Full Disclosure: We paid full price for our stay and did not receive any remuneration for this story.

You can learn more about Xixuau here.

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0:12 In our last video, we provided an update for the first half of our time in the Amazon region
0:17 of Brazil. In this video, we will be covering the second
0:19 half of our visit, focusing on our experience in the Reserva Xixuau-Xiparina and the 100
0:24 or so inhabitants who live here. This reserve is under the administration and
0:29 protection of a Brazilian organization called the Amazon Association, which was formed in
0:34 1992 by and for the benefit of the native inhabitants of the region.
0:40 A casual glance of the surrounding area using Google Earth shows what happens when appropriate
0:45 steps are not taken. This is called the fishbone effect and it
0:49 occurs when people illegally cut trees on either side of a road.
0:53 Unfortunately, this occurs throughout the Amazon region.
1:04 In the year 2000, a young Italian biologist named Emanuela Evangelista came to the Xixuau
1:07 to do her thesis on the giant river otters of the reserve.
1:13 She since expanded her research into other species of aquatic mammals, such as fresh
1:17 water dolphins who often work together with the otters.
1:22 Hunted for their pelts, the Otter was once the most endangered mammal in South America.
1:38 Though still threatened by commercial fishing in the area, dwindling habitat and pollution,
1:43 the otter has made a comeback. Over the years, the camera crews from National
1:51 Geographic, PBS, BBC, German National Television and Italian National Television have all come
1:57 to film documentaries here of the otters and other wildlife.
2:13 Financed and organized by the Amazon Charitable Trust, the Community Botany project was recently
2:17 launched with representation from the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Kew Botanical Gardens
2:21 and the National Institute of Amazon Research. From the beginning, this was a partnership
2:26 with the local communities to give them the skills to map and inventory the flora in this
2:31 remote region. In Oct of 2012, four researchers combined
2:36 with four members of the local community began the first phase of the project.
2:41 Researches collected plant samples along a straight 5km path through the forest.
2:45 These samples were sent to Japan, New York, London, Sao Paulo and Manaus for comparison
2:51 and possible identification of new species. Beyond the obvious scientific interests, the
2:57 team also used the time to map sources for sustainable use and income of area.
3:15 In addition to the Association, the people here formed a co-operative, which recently
3:19 completed the construction of five maloca lodges in the style of the local Indians.
3:24 Almost all of the adults who live in Xixuau are members of this cooperative and share
3:28 in the profits generated by it, while serving as guides, cooks, boat captains and maids.
3:34 The very livelihood of these people is now dependant on maintaining the area is a sustainable
3:38 way, protecting it from large-scale commercial fishing, wholesale development and illegal
3:58 logging.

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