In the course of writing a book about what free-living animals learn from each other, I find myself on the Tambopata River in southeast Peru. The nearest town is Puerto Maldonado but from there the trip is all upriver. Wheeled vehicles are useless in this forest, and there are none. The surrounding forest has been officially protected with designations of national reserve and national park. Perhaps the strangest thing is that while it takes very special skills for humans to exist in the Amazon rainforest, my trip into the forest is amazingly comfortable. I’m here to hang out with scientists of the Tambopata Macaw Project at the Tambopata Research Center, a special privilege. My logistics are all being facilitated by the expert eco-tourism company Rainforest Expeditions, which is why my trip upriver is so easy.
Our first night, we stop at a tourist lodge called Refugio Amazonas. The next day we visit a Harpy Eagle nest with a big chick. I get lucky enough to see mama, too, when she delivers a monkey to her babe.