As it turns out, I will be working in the field this summer! The field site is the same as last summer: Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Ecuador, on the western edge of the Amazon Basin. It is a gorgeous site, encompassing some of the greatest biodiversity of plant and animal species in the world. It is also moderately remote. Here is rough overview of the trip. To reach Tiputini from the town of Puerto Francisco de Orellana, also known as Coca, you begin by taking a two-hour trip down the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon River, until you reach the fringes of a territory owned by an oil company operating in the rainforest. After making your way through security (alcohol, by the way, does not make it past this point), you take a two-hour bus ride to the Tiputini River and another two-hour canoe ride down the Tiputini River to reach the station. The canoe ride is an absolutely mind-numbingly exhilarating experience. The remoteness of the area begins to kick in a bit (at this point, you surely have the entire river to yourself), you begin to see the mostly untouched beauty of the forest around Tiputini, and there are some incredible animals around (including your best-ever shot of seeing a jaguar). Anyway, all this remoteness means virtually no hunting or habitat fragmentation for the monkeys that we work with (I had a feeling that all that was going somewhere).
My job description this summer isn’t completely clear, but I will most likely be working with either titi or woolly monkeys (two of the ten monkey species there). I planned my visit to more or less coincide with my current advisor’s (Tony Di Fiore) stay, so I will be carrying out whatever duties he wants me to. My stay in Tiputini will last about a month starting May 20. Absolutely thrilled to be returning.