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The fight is on to balance President Evo Morales’s expansionist plans with that of the conservation of threatened wildlife and indigenous community protection.
Yossi Ghinsberg may need to step into the fray once again to ensure the survival of San Jose de Uchupiamonas and its human and animal neighbours.
Trekking on, we come across tapir tracks, a jaguar paw print, and nude fungus (called monkeys’ ears) pinned to fallen logs. There, amid the dense thread of branches, is a young marsh deer trying to outstare us. That this endangered, beautiful honey-hued beast doesn’t scarper is a major positive for animal conservation.
It takes five hours by boat up the milk chocolate-hued Beni and Tuichi rivers, and a two-kilometre walk inland, to reach the lodge staffed by the San Jose community.
We set off just after 6am to make the most of wildlife spotting.
Straight off we see giant anteater tracks, while above us military macaws screech continuously like a bunch of old gossips; in the distance, the roar of the howler monkey crescendos like a great storm brewing.
Recent additions include hot water and solar energy installation, two new boats, and new wooden bridges on the trails.
Ovidio Valdez Amutari, a son of the community, is my guide while we explore some of the 15 jungle trails.