Tapir Number Two

Good morning and happy weekend to you! I want to continue our recap of my Ecuador trip! We caught tapir number two (like Mambo No. 5, but less musical!) just a couple days after we caught Jackie.

Say hello to Fayna! Our amazing trackers were out in the forest with the dogs maybe only a couple of hours before we got the call on the radio that we had another tapir! She was surprisingly close to the road and we only hiked a few minutes before finding her in a river bed. There are tons of waterfalls and streams in the area and the tapirs usually run towards water to avoid predators. All of our captures occurred in or near water.

At one point during this capture, I had to stand in the water (with my rubber boots on so my feet weren’t wet, but I could feel the temperature of the water) for almost 20 minutes and didn’t realize my feet had gone numb from the cold until I tried to step out and promptly sat down in the mud because my feet didn’t go where I told them to, haha!

Fayna had been captured before and it was a great opportunity to check her body condition and take as many measurements and get as much biological information as we could.

Once we had attached her new GPS collar and got all the samples we needed, we reversed the drugs that put her to sleep in the field and watched her recover and run away. (My favorite part!)

It was a wonderfully successful capture and we were able to run some of our samples in the field. Technology these days is crazy! Buddha even had an app on his phone that can show us a semen sample in real time on his phone! We also brought a new microscope and were able to look at what was in the fecal samples we took. I thought that was so cool!

We made our way home and didn’t find another tapir for a couple days. On days we didn’t find tapirs we stayed busy hiking around and being ready at a moment’s notice. If we went home early, we filled our time exploring Papallacta and bonding over card games and Cuba libres. 😉

One of our trackers, Rodrigo, was super talented at guitar and played us some beautiful music. He even sang some songs in Quechua, his native language, which was so special and memorable.

We also had non-tapir related challenges to face. The hiking was physically demanding and I frequently found myself giving myself mental pep talks to keep up my good spirits.

We faced some funnier challenges as well like when we ran right over this rock…or should I say small boulder.

Yeah that took a few minutes to remove. 🙂

After a couple days, we finally caught our first male tapir, but that is a whole other story. I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!! I’ve run races the last two weekends so I am excited to have a more relaxed weekend and stick close to the house. However, it won’t be too relaxed because I’m packing! Yep, that’s right, I am moving next week!! It all happened really fast and we have a lot to catch up on. For now, wish me luck and we’ll catch up soon!

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Packing tips? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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