Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not A Drink-Your-Milkshake Moment

This is a blowpipe, not a long straw.

Is this an "I drink your milkshake!" moment? No, this is more like a I drink your blood moment! But, really, it's about planting trees and saving the Amazon rainforest.

Juan Kunchikuy is an indigenous native of the Ecuadoran Amazon rainforest. Nicholas D. Kristof reporting in the NYT writes, "Juan Kunchikuy can hit an animal with his blowpipe at 50 yards. Mr. Kunchikuy and his family were semi-nomadic. They survived largely by hunting with darts tipped with home-made curare poison."

Kunchikuy is also naturalist and guide working to preserve the Ecuatoran rainforest through conservation and eco-tourism with the Yachana Foundation. "Yachana" is a Kichua word for "place of learning."

Here is the home of the vampire bat which Kristof describes, "If the prey is an animal with fur, vampire bats use special teeth to shave the skin. Then they use incisors to cut the skin almost painlessly, while the saliva prevents clotting, and they lap up the blood."

Kristof's story (NYT 05-01-08 Can We Be as Smart as Bats?) shows us how conservation and cooperation with man and nature are helping to fight the dangers of global warming. In the story, Kristof quoted Douglas McMeekin of the Yachana Foundation. "People have to make a living. But they can chop down 50 acres of forest to make a pasture, or they can earn the same income by chopping down 5 acres and planting cacao,” McMeekin said.

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