Tapir3 Tapir5 Tapir6

Okay, I realize these photos don’t look like much. But please let me tell you why they are so special. They were taken at the end of a second long day of hiking into a very remote region of amazonian southern Peru called Manu. I was given the extreme privilege of being brought here by an amazing indigenous man who continues to live in the same simple, direct, and connected ways that his ancestors had for thousands of years before. As we hiked, we saw the tracks and droppings of tapirs and jaguars along the many rivers and streams. In the late afternoon of our second day we reached the campsite along the Amalia river that would be our home for the next few days. Excited by the prospect of viewing some wildlife, especially hoping to see a tapir or jaguar, I took a short walk just before sunset going further up the river to where it was joined by a large tributary. Sitting there on a large boulder I witnessed a breathtaking jungle sunset, and as darkness began to descend I stood up. Just as I was turning to return back toward camp, a dark object moving out of the trees onto the opposite bank caught my eye. I realized almost immediately that my dreams had been answered in the form of a wild amazonian tapir. I became motionless, and the animal came directly towards me and began to cross the river. As it entered the fast whitewater 20 feet from me, it turned downstream and began to play. My best attempt at description is that it frolicked and engaged in what appeared to be the tapir equivalent of bodysurfing. I don’t believe it was ever aware of my presence, eventually making its way downstream and across the river to amble back into the dark forest. Although the light was dim, I did manage to catch these few blurry long-exposure frames. Needless to say I was, and still am, ecstatic about the whole experience! I will be sharing more photos and words concerning this particular weeklong adventure as time allows 🙂