We climbed to the top of the 35 m. (115’) high observation tower to have a vista of the tree canopy outside Manu National Park in Peru.
A few days earlier we had spent considerable time at Cocha Salavador observing a family of threatened giant river otters. Danny, our guide, had told us that, when young males reached a certain age, they were forced to leave the family and set out on their own to establish a new family at a new lake.
Giant otters are not seen in the Manu River, only in lakes, and this young male giant otter, who had recently been expelled from the lake to start life on his own, appeared to have been wounded. The crew knew this otter as a member of the family that we had been observing the day before, and it made them very sad to see him struggling.
One of the most unexpected sightings on the trip was a rare appearance by “Vanessa” at the Manu Adventure Center.
We think that one of the highpoints of our trip was an early morning, peaceful raft trip on Blanco Lake.
Our cousins, Susie and Tom, and sat on chairs as we quietly drifted across the lake. We saw more birds than we ever thought possible.
Hoatzins are one of the strangest birds we’ve ever observed. The young have claws on their wings. They’re the only birds in the world that eat only leaves and have bovine-type stomachs. Hoatzins are certainly unique in the bird world. According to an article in “Audubon”, they branched off the “avian tree about 65 million years ago and are the only species in the group today.” They’re only found on lakes in the Amazon and Orinoco Delta region of South America.
We weren’t prepared for all that we saw in the Manu Park area. We love seeing new birds and animals, and then reading the interesting stories about them afterwards made what we had seen in the wild all the more fascinating.
Note: Before our visit to Peru, we did lots of research and chose Manu Expeditions’ 9-day “THE COMPLETE MANU BIOSPHERE RESERVE EXPERIENCE.”