Giant Otters at Check-in

Napo wildlife centre

by Hilary

The sounds of the Ecuadorian Amazon and gentle rock of the canoe during the paddle upstream was lulling me to a dreamy sleep; so much so I grabbed a paddle to help Juan and Carlitos with what was actually quite a tiring task! The ‘wind storm’ approaching turned out to be Howler Monkeys (we were becoming accustomed to Juan’s sense of humour). And so engrossed we were watching them run through the treetops, we barely noticed the canoe glide out of the creek and on to the lake.

What a magical way to arrive at Napo Wildlife Centre. The three of us in the boat had of course all seen the pictures, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for such a tranquil and serene scene.

Juan’s radio suddenly came to life – his comrades at the lodge letting us know that Giant River Otters were there. We paddled as quickly as we could to try to catch a rare glimpse of this endangered species. We neared and slowed in time to hear the otters calling to each other as they disappeared and reappeared from the calm water. The munching noise was them gobbling their catch whole. Their teeth were indeed extremely large! It was amazing to see, and we couldn’t believe how lucky we had been to share the experience.

So, imagine my amazement when the family returned almost as soon as we got to our room. The most gorgeous sounds of splashing and playing. Becoming more vocal as they back-tracked in search of one of the three cubs who was hiding in the reeds. He bobbed out, and off they swam together, calling and diving and happy. This was proving to be a very special night in the jungle.