Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wild in the City - More Fauna in Rio

I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, lived abroad for almost as many years and returned for regular visits from time-to-time to see family and friends. My family always lived in the city but as a kid we went to parks and nature walks quite often, so I am pretty used to seeing animals in their natural habitat. But I must say that I had never seen so many wild fauna in Rio as I have in the past few weeks. Actually I had never seen monkeys or toucans in the wild anywhere. And I did not go looking for them - it just happens to be there. I feel like I am in that Simpson's episode when they come to Rio and wild monkeys are everywhere!
I went to Jardin Botanico, our beautiful 1808 botanical garden, this past Sunday. I just wanted to chill and "commune" with nature and was awed by the animal life I saw in a matter of 90 minutes there. I first spotted the elegant white egret, that can be found at many watering spots in the city. It was feeding in one the small ponds in the garden - spear-fishing I may say. Then the turtles - OK, no big deal. Soon, I spot high up in the trees a couple of toucans (!), with bright yellow chest feathers. I was like "Oh, my God! Toucans!!" This was really a first for me as I didn't even know we had toucans in Rio de Janeiro. Then the piece-de-resistance came along. Suddenly coming down from the trees, there must have been over a dozen monkeys (Capuchin?), attracted by the noise of the people, probably in expectation of food. They were quite playful and not too afraid of us, getting a little too close for my personal comfort. I tried to film them with my Sony camera and it would have come out great if I had remembered that I am supposed to record in the horizontal position only...

If you tilt your head to the left you can watch a little of my monkey adventure. If in Rio, you must go to Jardin Botanico for a break from "Ipanema Life". I cannot guarantee you will see all these animals there but the odds are quite high for what I experienced this weekend.

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