Earthwatch welcomed its first ever team of Chinese volunteers to its research project in the Peruvian Amazon in January 2010.
The group of 12 volunteers spent 14 days helping Earthwatch scientist Dr. Richard Bodmer to survey the wildlife in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, where Earthwatch teams are gathering data about pink river dolphins, caimans, giant river otters, macaws and fish.
The volunteers, from several Chinese provinces, also visited two local communities from nearby villages during their expedition. The visit was organized by Earthwatch and Chinese National Geography.
Earthwatch Director of Volunteer Programs, James Fry, who was also on the team in January, said: "Chinese National Geography wants to bring China to the rest of the world, not only through its wonderful print publication but also by giving its readers the chance to volunteer internationally. Earthwatch is a logical partner and it fits with our desire to develop a more international volunteer base. This will be the first of several all Chinese teams in 2010 and 2011 and demonstrates the growing awareness in China about conservation issues. The team members were energetic and committed volunteers and were excellent ambassadors for their country."
Dr. Bodmer and his team are surveying the area's biodiversity to develop sustainable conservation strategies for the region and the people who inhabit it. Conservation of this reserve is all the more urgent as illegal timber companies, exotic pet traders, and hunters have decimated wildlife in other areas of the Amazon.
Find out how you can join Amazon Riverboat Exploration in 2010.