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A List of Labor and Love

Fruit eating bat outside of laboratory of research station (Mabita, Honduras, May 2016)

LoraKim is deep in the field in Guyana right now and I had not heard from her for a number of days. I've learned through the years not to be concerned, as WiFi access is limited at best in many of the places where she works. She did manage to post on Facebook today about losing a spare tire on a truck on a particularly rough and wet dirt road. Such are some of the many challenges of conservation work in the field.

Lost spare tire in mud (Guayana, January 2019)

Below is a blog LoraKim wrote from Mabita, Honduras in May 2016 that details more of what "comes with the job" of wildlife conservationist:

Here’s a list of what I’ve encountered after three weeks in the field in La Moskitia, Honduras.

  1. Chiggers that start at the feet but don’t burrow in until they hit the waist line, and they don’t stop there. The secret is to make like you are adjusting your underclothes while really scratching as nonchalantly as possible.

  2. No-see-ums that blacken your feet with bites if you forget to put on insecticide while wearing sandals. They make a nice pattern I think.

  3. Fire ant attack in the shower. Who saw that coming?

  4. Venomous snake on the way to the latrine. It’s enough motivation to make sure not to drink too many liquids before bedtime and keep very fresh batteries in your flashlight.

  5. Huge fruit eating bat hanging upside down outside the field laboratory at night. I don’t mind stepping around bat feces in the morning to enter the lab.

  6. A kind of grass that first cuts the skin, then swells it to a dark red color, and then when it peels, leaves a nice wide scar, which I am sure will fade in time. It stands out now because of how dark the skins gets here in the tropical sun.

  7. Flu and diarrhea outbreak in the villages around us (I’ve been spared but we are always giving rides to mothers with sick babies). It has something to do with the low water flow of the rivers and creeks. You just gotta love chlorine bleach in your drinking water because it keeps you well.

  8. Flat tire under a nest tree. Thank goodness we had a spare but continued to work several more days without a spare….until….

  9. Stranded in the dark after a climbing a nest tree, not with a flat tire, but with a broken timing chain in our truck We were first rescued by two people and a turtle on motor bike. The turtle was strapped upside down to the seat and was on her way to being made into soup. Then came the brigade of motorbikes from Mabita to take us and our climbing gear back to Mabita.

  10. Now stranded in Pt. Lempira awaiting car repairs. Our project doesn’t have enough funds to purchase our own car as of yet.

  11. Memorable sighting of 3 scarlet macaws along side of road leaving Mabita for Pt. Lempira two days ago. They flew through the fog and the deep, dark pine trees calling when our car rolled past them at 5 a.m. in the morning. Macaws haven’t been seen this far from the protected area in some time.

  12. Seventeen active scarlet macaw nests with 21 chicks and 8 eggs, no nests poached as of yet.

The last two on the list are what makes it all a labor of love.

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