Posted by: Waheeda Harris | June 25, 2013

Rainforest dwellers

Ecuador - rainforest monkeyI was surprised that while I was in Ecuador’s rainforest, I didn’t see more animals or insects.

I heard stories of giant spiders and scorpions, I could hear the distant cries of birds and would sometimes imagine other animals wandering close by, but they all were elusive to me.

As part of my group’s tour, we went to a animal rescue center on the Napo River, to see some of the animals that had been stolen from the rainforest.

These animals were illegally purchased as pets and abandoned, or attempted to be sold outside of Ecuador to those who desired an exotic animal.

With this in mind, it seemed even more sad to see the animals in cages – knowing they hadn’t led the life they were supposed to – wandering the rainforest, not the amusement of someone who thinks they deserve a rare pet.

This wee monkey hit my soft spot – his nervous gestures and high pitched cries seemingly trying to communicate his past and current frustrations.

And it made me mad that someone had decided to want this creature for their own, and now permanently condemning it to a life in the center, since the staff weren’t sure it would be able to survive in its traditional rainforest environment.

I remembered what I had learned years ago about the delicate balance of the rainforest – and how this one animal had changed the balance and how hopefully we could learn to help restore it.

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