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So far we've managed to use just about every method of transportation available in Peru! We have ridden in cars, buses, airplanes, bicycles, and canoes. Of course, we have also used our own two feet to get from place to place. How many methods of transportation have you used today?

Here are two forms of transportation we will use on this trip: our canoe and a launcha.

On our way from Nauta to Iquitos by canoe, we saw many different types of boats being used. We encountered launchas loaded with people, pique piques carrying anywhere from one to ten people, barges transporting goods, and many personal canoes paddled by fisherman or anyone really, just headed somewhere on the river. Keep in mind that it's not just people being transported. We saw half of a launcha filled with cattle, a canoe full of bananas, another canoe full of fish, and earlier in the trip we even sat next to several chickens being transported on a bus.

Transportation isn't just for people! All living things rely on transportation in order to survive. Animals evade predators, seeds travel to grow new plants, and people move to create new cities and to find work. Look out the window, and you'll notice that most living things are on the go.

These red macaws don't need a boat to get around the rainforest!

Many birds in the rainforest have two residences. Birds often change ecosystems for different seasons. The process of moving to a different habitat during regular seasonal changes is called migration. Many animals migrate, but birds migrate over greater distances and in greater numbers than most mammals or fish. Birds migrate for a number of reasons, but the most important reasons are food and climate. As a general rule, birds do not like cold weather and do not like being hungry. During the colder, leaner months of winter, birds migrate toward the Equator to feed on the abundant plants and animals found in the tropics.

In the tropical rainforests of South America, people rely on the rivers and waterways for transportation. Launchas, pique piques, and canoes are the main forms of transportation used in the rainforest.

Dugout canoes have been used for thousands of years in the tropical rainforest. Most families who live along the river have several canoes. There are many styles and shapes of canoes found in the rainforest. Some are long and deep to carry heavy goods or many people. Some are short and shallow to allow fishing in shallow backwaters and flooded regions of the forest. Most canoes are paddled using paddles made from trees found in the forest. However, some have been modified to allow a motor to be put on the stern (back) of the canoe.

How might a large tanker like this affect the river?

Believe it or not, the transportation you choose has a direct impact on the Earth. How does a road alter the ecosystem? What impact does motorized transportation have on wildlife, the air, and indigenous people? What methods of transportation are a part of a physically healthy lifestyle? What methods of transportation have the smallest impact on the environment? What are the advantages and disadvantages to these methods?

Is your school or classroom looking for ways that they can help the rainforest? Click Here! to learn about the Wilderness Classroom's Amazon Pen Pals fund-raising opportunity.
Please join us in the Chat Room on Friday, April 11 from 1:00 - 2:00 PM CST. Teachers, please log your class in as a single user using an LCD projector. We look forward to chatting with you from the Amazon!

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