Notable among the many species are the Brazilian tapir (Tapirus terrestris) – the largest land mammal in South America – white lipped and collared peccary (Tayassu pecari and Tayassu tajacu) and capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). These large animals feed mainly on plants and roots and are able to move quickly through the forest, due to their relatively short but strong legs and elongated bodies. The tapir and capybara are attracted to water and are most commonly seen along the river banks in the period from July to October.
Other mammals include the giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) and neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis), which are excellent swimmers and hunters of fish.
The forest is also inhabited by many species of monkeys, such as the endemic white-whiskered spider monkey (Ateles marginatus), feline night monkey (Aotus infulatus), capuchins (Sapajus apella), red-handed howler (Alouatta discolor), red-nosed saki (Chiropotes albinasus), the rare snethlage’s marmoset (Mico emiliae) and orabassu titi monkey (Callicebus moloch). Of these, the capuchins, spider monkeys, sakis and howlers are commonly sighted.
Other, less commonly sighted species include the collared anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), tayra (Eira barbara) and shy three-toed and two-toed sloths (Bradypus variegatus and Cheloepus didactylus). Encounters with jaguar, black panther (both variations of Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor) occur perhaps once or twice a year.
WATCHING THE AMAZON FAUNA
Despite the rich biodiversity of the region, it is important to bear in mind that the observation of wildlife in the jungle is more challenging than in a savanna environment, because the forest is tall and dense. Moreover, due to the greater complexity of the ecosystem, the population density of many species will be lower. On the other hand, the reward is extremely gratifying. One will enjoy frequent encounters with endemic species and there is considerable variety within the species observed, thus ensuring that the Cristalino Lodge will never cease to entertain and impress observant visitors.
Furthermore, the Cristalino Lodge adheres to the rules of responsible tourism, with no feeding of the animals or interfering with their natural habitat, so that one can be sure that the sightings of the fauna are truly in accordance with their natural behavior.
In my first week in the lodge I saw 5 species of monkeys, including the endangered and handsome saki monkey and white cheeked spider monkey, tapir, peccaries, forest deer, dart frogs and an immense variety of birds. That is why I came back three other times to visit the lodge and I hope to come many more. Cristalino Reserve is a true gem in the middle of Brazil! Above: Red-handed howler Monkey (Alouatta belzebul).