Conservation & Research
Photo Story: A day of discoveries in the Amazon, from dawn ’til dusk

Despite its remote tropical location, the Manu Learning Centre in southeastern Peru becomes very much a home for it’s volunteers and interns. Time flies by and every day blurs into the same big adventure. From dawn till dusk, the excitement never stops. Let's go on a journey through one of these days with multimedia intern Billy Stockwell's photo story...

 

Golden hour
As the sun rises over the Pini Pini mountains in the Peruvian Amazon the light begins to change, cutting the landscape in two distinct halves. Blue-and-yellow Macaws pass by, their colours iridescent and shimmering brightly. A day of new beginnings and exciting discoveries lies ahead.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

Crossing paths

Having left our sunrise spot we make our way back to the Manu Learning Centre - a research base in the buffer zone of Manu National Park. With my eyes trained on the ground, navigating the boulders below my rubber boots, I realise this journey has been done before.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

First encounters

“Mira! Capybara!” Santi, our boat driver, exclaims. Minutes away from arriving back at our lodge, thanks to Santi’s eagle eyes, we are able to watch the largest rodent in the world stroll, surprisingly gracefully, along the riverside with her young.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

A moment of calm

Back at the our lodge, amongst the chaos of fluttering wings around the Manu Learning Centre gardens, this individual remains perched. But with the highest metabolic rate of any bird species in the world it won’t be long before it must take to the air once again.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

New growth

In the early afternoon we don our rain jackets and head into the jungle. My senses heighten and align with the environment, almost like an eye adjusting to a bright light. The calls of birds and other creatures ricochet throughout the forest, but one in particular attracts our attention.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

Follow the leader

the trails that crisscross the reserve allow access to the most remote regions. Today, we are heading for the mammal clay lick, a notorious spot for monkeys and terrestrial mammals.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

Clinging on for dear light

Epiphytes seek out the sun’s rays in the forest canopy, fixed to their host trees tightly. Every direction you look in the rainforest this symbiosism is present; a powerful tool, one of support and survival.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

Monkey business

We are now off-trail and following the calls of an endangered spider monkey family deep into the rainforest. Above us the canopy shakes and leaves float to the forest floor. They tease us of their proximity. A fallen tree gives us the clearing needed for the perfect view.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

A world of contrasts

The brighter shades of green that paint the rainforest interior during the day begin to fade into the darkness. For when night arrives the rainforest shifts; a stage for nocturnal creatures to flaunt their peculiar adaptations and often stunning appearances.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

Out of place

Here at the Manu Learning Centre volunteers and interns conduct night-time surveys alongside researchers to monitor species, such as tree frogs. The presence of these vulnerable species, which are affected more by environmental change, gives hope for the future of tropical rainforests in Manu, and beyond.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.

 

Image credit: Billy Stockwell.