Gamebirds, primates, and other mammals
As a rule, we avoid talking while working in the forest, so we often see mammals and large birds if they are present. However, during our two weeks at ACEER, other than Variable Chachalacas calling near the quebrada, we encountered cracids only three times. A curassow flushed from a thicket beside the quebrada above ACEER lodge. I saw only a thin flash of white, a suggestion that it was a Razor-billed Curassow, rather than a Salvin's. It also seemed bigger than the Salvin's we have seen in Ecuador. The bird was extremely wary (unlike curassows in unhunted areas of Ecuador) and could not be relocated. Twice we flushed Spix's Guans in the forest canopy. They too were extremely wary; after one or two honks they could not be relocated. Once we flushed a small group of trumpeters, presumably Gray-winged Trumpeters, north of ACEER. Nocturnal Curassows called in the distance only one night during the two weeks we worked at ACEER (July is probably the wrong season for calling). Primates were much scarcer than during my visit in March 1997. In the area from ExplorNapo past ACEER to the previous and current tambos, we encountered Saguinus only twice and Callicebus only once (although we heard a troop several other times). One morning we saw a small group of Pithecia in an emergent south of the canopy walkway. We heard Cebuella at several places along the Quebrada Trail. Other mammals were also scarce. We repeatedly saw a Black Agouti on the hillsides north of ACEER and smelled them several other places. We encounterd the large Amazonian Red Squirrel only once, again a very wary animal. On one occasion we could smell peccary on the trail about one kilometer west of ACEER. Other than those of agouti (and humans), we saw no tracks on any trails. Small squirrels were seen regularly in the forest. All of this evidence suggests that the area accessible by trails within several kilometers of ACEER had recently been subjected to substantial hunting. During our visit, this area was a rather "empty forest". Staff agreed but explained that hunting in the area had recently stopped. If hunting can be prevented in the area around ACEER, wildlife will eventually become much easier to find and observe.