Three-toed sloth (Bradypus )

Sloths…

The sloth is a difficult animal to take photos of. It is an arboreal animal….living quietly in tall trees and it moves slowly so is difficult to even see. They usually appear as dark shapeless bodies high in the branches.

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My partner climbed a tall tree and brought this sloth down for me. I held it to me and like a baby it put its surprisingly strong arms around me digging its long,sharp nails into my skin.
The three-toed sloth’s face is gentle and baby-like with an upwards curving mouth, you can’t help smiling as you look into its large round dark eyes, despite the green algae covered fur crawling with fleas and other insects.
As I held the sloth it put it’s hand out and grabbed some leaves. They eat leaves, shoots and fruit usually in the evenings.

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Three-toed Sloths have no breeding season, but breed throughout the year. Females scream to attract males. Babies stay with their mothers for nine months and are left territory by their mothers who move on to new grounds.

The sloth was carefully unpicked from his grip of me and returned to the tree. I could hear the sloth moving through the branches as it moved up the trunk and along from tree to tree.

I, left below in a canoe, spent the next hour picking off large fleas from my clothes and hair.

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Last Photo Courtesy of Arkive.

The Amazon: The Worlds Longest River…new research.

The Amazon: Worlds longest river.

New research has found a possible new source for the Amazon…..a river in Peru called the Mantaro or Great River.
The results of the research are questioned because the river dries up for four or five months a year, but if they are confirmed the Amazon will be officially the worlds longest river.

The Amazon is an incredible river. I first travelled on it when I went to see the Meeting of the Waters. The black waters of the River Negro and the tea-coloured waters of the River Solimoes flow side by side eventually blending to become, in Brazilian eyes, the great River Amazon.

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The river is huge, sometimes from one bank looking across, its impossible to see the other side, its so wide. And, it feels powerful too.
It is a busy river and getting busier. Transport ranges from small wooden canoes, ferries, on to massive world-class liners.

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It has also been opened up by a new $400 million bridge the Ponte Rio Negro Bridge or Iranduba Bridge from Amazonia’s capital city Manaus across the river to small towns on the opposite shore.

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I hear that it has already caused the deforestation of large areas as I feared when I saw the first parts of the huge structure being put in place. It was not obvious to the populace in Manaus what the bridge was for…. to open up the other shore for more farming and people, or for exploitation of gas or oil finds. Either way the forest would suffer and this is happening.
Nothing is sadder than driving along the road that used to be thickly lined with rainforest to see vast areas of nothing stretching into the distance and always a solitary Brazil-nut Tree in the middle as a reminder of what was. Wildlife and birds are non existent along the tarmacked roads.
Snuggling in small pockets along this road are small areas of thick forest and sparkling streams full of people enjoying what’s left. People escape to these spots in the evenings and at weekends, desperate to enjoy the ‘Green Effect’ that nature alone supplies….a feeling of well being that no amount of concrete and metal can reproduce in the concrete jungles of cities.

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New study by the University of California, Berkeley, argues for new origin, according to a report by Jane Lee in National Geographic.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2559490/Have-finally-discovered-Amazons-source-Scientists-pinpoint-rivers-origin-60-miles-longer-thought.html#ixzz2tKnuRfzr