My friends and family were right when they warned me about the jungle and their scary inhabitants! And yes, during my jungle treks into the Amazon rainforest, I have sighted and photographed killer spiders, black caymans, fluttering butterflies, colourful macaws and noisy monkeys. But the flesh-devouring piranhas were just too quick for my camera. They came from nowhere, grabbed the morsels of bread crumbs thrown onto the water and disappeared into the murky water just as quickly as they had come.
Meanwhile in the oxbow lake at the Tambopata National Reserve, a black cayman awaits in stealth mode for its next prey …
I have voluntarily left the ordinary to travel and experience the Amazon, a place I learnt from geography lessons as a 14-year old. Fearsome animals aside, the Amazon is also a place where “fearsome” plants are found. Our guide tapped a small tree, and within moments, a swarm of fearsome red ants gathered around the spots that he had tapped. The tree was providing a safe haven for the ants to live and in return, they helped to defend it – a classic example of symbiosis found in nature.
There’s always a balance in nature, the yin and yang way of things. It’s a belief I hold. And so, amongst the “fearsome” flora and fauna of the rain forests, there are crops for the benefits of Man. Bananas, casavas, papayas, avocados and potatoes flourish in abundance. Keeping forests pristine is one thing, growing sufficient food is another. What’s your take?