Today we decided to explore the origin of Ecotourism in Trinidad: the Caroni swamp. Really it is a mangrove forest with all these tributaries and streams that we were able to navigate through. We went a little bit before sundown so that we were able to watch the egrets, blue herons, and best of all the scarlet ibis fly in to roost for they night. The scarlet ibis is the national bird of Trinidad and my pictures do not do it justice. They are so incredibly bright! The island looked like a giant Christmas tree with red ornaments all over it.
Originally the scarlet ibis was hunted and the birds fled to Venezuela to roost. Then after the swamp was declared protected land and the scarlet ibis the national bird, and so it couldn’t be hunted, they have come back and in the past fifteen to twenty years their population has catapulted to about 20,000 in just the 40 acres of the Caroni swamp.
Of course on our way to the island we found a couple snakes because we can’t go a single day here without trying to play with one! One of our professors, Don, does not share the snake enthusiasm that the rest of the group seems to have. We also found a tree anteater, or more commonly known as the two-toed sloth. You can play a game of eye-spy in my pictures and try to find the snakes, sloths, and birds. I’ll give you a hint: the sloth looks like a little ball of fluff!