Rainforest guide talks of Amazonian life and challenges


Mohsin Kazmi

From the western part of the Amazon rain forest, Mohsin Kazmi shared lessons learned with Radford University students on Sept. 23 in Reed Hall.

In a presentation, titled "The Amazon: an unfinished country," Mohsin, a guide and photographer from Tamandua Expeditions, shared both experience and photography of the Peruvian rainforest. As part of the first Radford Amazonian Research Expedition (RARE). RU students will have a unique and valuable opportunity to visit the Tamandua research station next Maymester.

Kahsin briefed the more than 30 students and faculty on some of the lessons the Amazon had taught him.

"It is a place of overwhelming growth that is constantly replenishing itself," he said. "In many ways, a machete is more important than a bottle of water."

Kahsin is part of Tamandua Expeditions whose focus is on biodiversity research, conservation and responsible volunteer/adventure travel. Its guests travel by jungle road and river to reach its location deep in the lowland tropical rainforest at the base of the Andean range. Once there, the volunteers work in one of the most biologically diverse regions on earth. They also have an opportunity to work closely with the indigenous communities and experience their ways of life.


The Amazon River

"In the eyes of the jungle, man is a giant, strange-looking ape," he said. "Life is competition, plants, animals, reptiles and man are all trying to find their place there."

As he talked about and showed photographs of the wildlife of the jungle - ants, butterflies, jaguars and snakes, he also talked about the human residents of the Madre de Dios River region that lies at the headwaters of the Amazon River.


"They are good people who daily confront major challenges," he said. According to Kahsin, their challenges include the enticing, but threatening, resource development activities, like lumbering and gold mining, as well as the challenging life far from civilization.

Led by Assistant Professors of Biology Jason Davis and Joy Caughron, the RARE program will host an information session on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. in Reed Hall 201. For more information, contact Davis at jdavis319@radford.edu or 831-5353.

Oct 1, 2014