Otters, Peru

In my last post I mentioned having learnt a simple but important lesson about travelling and filming wildlife, about accepting that sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. The week I went to the low jungle near Puerto Maldonado (despite my laptop charger breaking and accidentally throwing my spare camera battery into a lake) when it came to wildlife, I was particularly lucky.

I was there to help an organisation called Peru Verde with some filming to promote their conservation work, and so I went to visit two of their lodges on the border with Bolivia. People visit this region in the hope of seeing giant river otters, and we were not disappointed. Our guide Jhon Aguilar whose voice you can hear on this video, is incredibly good at his job in every way:

We also saw a tapir, 6 species of monkey, a rainbow boa, an amazon horned frog (perhaps not high on the tourist list, but for me this was a real highlight) countless macaws and a sloth! Basically every excursion we went on, the amazon threw up some new spectacle, and I saw lot of animals I have wanted to see since I was a teenage girl glued to 'Andes to Amazon' and realising that dinosaurs really do still exist (those hoatzin are just nuts).

Frogs, Peru

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to accompany a Peruvian masters student, Vanessa Uscapi, on a field trip to Madre Selva, near Quillabamba. She is studying the amphibians in this region and in 2011 found a new species here (Noblella madreselva). Her studies are particularly important as the region is not a protected area and tourism is growing rapidly. Not surprising as its a really stunning part of the world.

You may have heard in the news that Peru has been suffering with some very severe flooding. The region I'm in has not been affected so badly as Lima and the north but due to road closures and generally vast amounts of rain, I didn't have as long as I hoped in the field. Torrential rain at 10pm every night hampered our frog finding excursions and unfortunately I never got to film N. madreselva (the day after I left she found a ton of them!) - Oh well, I'm learning a lot about the realities of the field, when working with wildlife you win some, you lose some. My next 2 blog posts will feature some big wins, and I still saw some pretty neat frogs on this trip. There will be a little film about her work down the line, but for now, a few pics:

Holidays, Bolivia

The area around Uyuni, Bolivia, is certainly one of the most surreal and stunning places I have ever been to. I couldn't quite believe that so many weird yet different landscapes exist within a few hours drive of each other. Also there are flamingoes, which are pretty neat, and kind of surreal in themselves. So I took a few pictures: 

I have to also thank the wonderful people who I shared this journey with. Legends one and all, you made it even more spectacular. Also Ghislaine who took the amazing panorama above. Cheers guys!

Coffee, Peru

Having spent the past few weeks in Peru, I am now coming to the end of my work in the coffee industry. Last month I also visited Nicaragua and it has really struck me how different the industry is in each country. In Peru farmers have been through a lot of difficulties and it really shows. Fluctuating prices, coffee rust and the Shining Path years of terrorism have taken their toll, and fair trade certification has often been mismanaged, further removing support from people who need it. I have been lucky enough to be filming a project which strives to improve traceability and make sure that premiums really are going to the right people. It is in its early stages but inspiring to see. Here are a few pictures:

Coffee, Honduras

I've had the pleasure of spending the past three weeks in Honduras, learning all about coffee and making some videos. I won't bore you with a ton of text, lets face it you came for the photos. But I will say two things: 

  • The coffee industry is fascinating, and so complex, particularly in Honduras where it is growing so fast. Like most of us I drink it every day and rarely think about the huge distances it travels and the countless hands it passes through. Buying certified coffee really does make a difference, and I have a huge new found respect for middle-men.
  • Honduras hasn't had the best reputation (just google San Pedro Sula) but I've met so many caring people who have gone out of their way to make me feel at home. So I thought I'd give you a glimpse of some of the adorable characters I've been lucky enough to meet: