These last few weeks we have started mammal walks throughout the reserve. We first started these back during the wet season and it forms part of our research into the behaviour, diversity and abundance of mammals in the reserve.
Once a week a couple of volunteers and a staff member walk slowly along pre-selected sections of trails looking out for mammals. The walks take place early in the morning, between 6am and 8am and in the afternoon from 4pm onwards as these are times when the animals should be most active. Although we may not always be successful, when we do see something, we record details such as location and species and number of individuals to enable Raul Bello, our resident mammal biologist, to collate the data and compare it with other information we have from during the wet season and from our fixed sensor cameras which we also have around the reserve to help us find out more about those more secretive animals.
A Tapir footprint found along one of our trails
Also, every two weeks, we undertake a night walk with the same aim: discovering more about the movements of the nocturnal animals. With only torchlight to see by, senses become heightened as you listen for rustles within the leaves or up in the branches of a tree or sniff the air for the unmistakable stench of Collared Peccaries. Often it may only prove to be a falling leaf or twig, but occasionally we are lucky enough to come across something more. So far during the day and night, we have spotted tapirs, peccaries, night monkeys, capuchin and squirrel monkeys as well as smaller animals such as agouti and opossums.