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08
Day Forty-four – August 28th 2015

Today many of the team focused on the threatened queñua (Polylepis spp) forests of the Puina valley. The highest forests of the Andes reaching above 4,350 meters above sea level, across much of the Andes they are threatened by fire, as well as use of fuel for cooking. Madidi and neighboring protected area, Apolobamba protect some of the last significant patches that harbor unique species of plants and animals including at least two habitat endemic bird species that have both been registered by the team this week: the royal cinclodes (Cinclodes aricomae) and the ash-breasted tit-tyrant (Anairetes alpinus).

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08
Day Forty-four – August 28th 2015

Today many of the team focused on the threatened queñua (Polylepis spp) forests of the Puina valley. The highest forests of the Andes reaching above 4,350 meters above sea level, across much of the Andes they are threatened by fire, as well as use of fuel for cooking. Madidi and neighboring protected area, Apolobamba protect some of the last significant patches that harbor unique species of plants and animals including at least two habitat endemic bird species that have both been registered by the team this week: the royal cinclodes (Cinclodes aricomae) and the ash-breasted tit-tyrant (Anairetes alpinus).

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08
Day Forty-three – August 27th 2015

Our camp in Puina is called Campamento Torrentero because of the presence of torrent ducks (Merganetta armata) that ride the rapids of the Puina River through town. At this time of year these bravest of ducks have ducklings, and, at times with our hearts in our mouths, the team has been treated to the sight of the beautiful adult pair teaching their young to swim and ride the rapids. In addition to these photos we hope to share some video of this behavior with you soon and we are sure you will all agree these are without doubt the coolest and most spectacular ducks in the world!

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08
Day Forty-two – August 26th 2015
Today our first amphibian, the marbled four-eyed frog (Pleuroderma marmoratum), another new record for Madidi, found living under stones in the Andean peat bogs or bofedales, wetlands that are critical as relatively more productive habitat for much of the High Andean fauna, as well as domestic camelids. As we search for the frog a colorful pericote mouse (Auliscomys pictus) clambers across an alpaca corral wall and allows us to photograph it in its home. Prior to Identidad Madidi virtually no research had been conducted on High Andean small mammals and so this observation also represents a new record for the park.

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29
Day Forty-one: August 25th 2015
The camera trap team finished the placement of more than 70 camera trap stations across this High Andean landscape. After placement of small mammal traps thanks to Nuria Bernal, and the Toro sisters, Justa and Maria, today our first three small mammal records for this trip, a Yungas grass mouse mouse (Akodon cf. aerosus), a smoky grass mouse (Akodon fumeus), and a bunchgrass leaf-eared mouse (Phyllotis cf. osilae), the latter two representing new records for Madidi.

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29
Day Forty: 24th August 2015

For the last three days the ichthyologist team, Guido Miranda, Erick Loayza and Jorge Molina has been looking for signs of any native fish species, as well as sampling for aquatic invertebrate diversity in the rivers, streams and lakes of the Puina valley. Beyond introduced trout they had had no luck until they saw an Andean fox (Lycalopex culpaeus) a powerful symbol in Andean cultures who seemed to approve their choice of lake at more than 4500 meters above sea level. The lake revealed an unidentified species of Orestias fish. These small fish are native to the western Andes and should be absent here. Conversations with Puina elders revealed they too were introduced several years ago and are thriving – to our knowledge the first documented case of this genus taking hold on the eastern side of the Andes.

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27
Day Thirty-nine: 23rd August 2015
Already new vertebrate records for Madidi begin to appear, such as the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) in the globally threatened keñua (Polylepis) forests. Some new official records are surprising because they are of extremely common animals like the vizcacha (Lagidium peruanum) that apparently were simply overlooked in note-taking by previous biological expeditions to the High Andean habitats of Madidi. The photographic team begins to capture some of the vegetation details of this big country landscape including some of the waraco cactus (Lobivia maximiliana).

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27
Day Thirty-eight: 22nd August 2015
Our first morning in picturesque Puina is spent meeting with community leaders to finalize details such as identifying the local guides that will help research efforts and the all-important task of finalizing the location of the camp kitchen. Soon after, the mammal team begins setting the camera traps for High Andean fauna across a 1500-meter altitudinal range sampling three different altitudinal levels – the puna and High Andean habitats above 4250 meters above sea level, the magical elfin treeline forest at 3500 meters, and in between a more humid grassland called paramo yungueño. All #IDMadidi research groups will sample these habitats in the next three weeks.

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26
Day Thirty-seven: 21st August 2015
After arriving to Pelechuco in the Apolobamba National Natural Area of Integrated Management the night before we begin transferring equipment and food from the small truck that has delivered it this far to our vehicles and some locally hired jeeps. The mountain roads between Pelechuco and our destination, Puina, are too dangerous for the truck and two ping-pongs using four vehicles are necessary taking all day and early evening.

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24
Day Thirty-Six: August 20th 2015
On the 20th of August at half past three in the morning the #IDMadidi team left La Paz to travel to Puina for the second leg of the biodiversity campaign in Madidi National Park which will focus on the High Andes. This second leg will concomitantly visit three different habitats: the humid Paramo grasslands of the Yungas that sit immediately above the treeline elfin forest covered in lichens, mosses and epiphytes, another distinct habitat. These two habitats are the Andean bears favorite haunts. The third habitat is the High Andean puna of the eastern side of the Andes including one of the most threatened forest types in the Americas, the keñua or Polylepis patches, as well as crucial peat bog wetlands crucial for wildfowl, wildlife and communities and their domestic camelids.

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