For many years, during tours in the Amazon, it’s been happening that the groups of visitors were causing great impact in the forest; this impact was not because of pollution or destruction of the environment, this impact was about directly over the wildlife that was touched and disturbed by guides and visitors without any protective measure.
It was part our fault, sometimes just to show off in front of a group, touching a snake, a caiman or fishing unnecessarily just to show how it looks a piranha.
That was also responsibility of those who took that behavior as a must to do so, always asking native and naturalists guides to grab and let touch the animals so “the group can see them”, without thinking about the negative impact that this kind of touch brings to the species, specially to very sensitive ones.
Fortunately, this situation is changing, now the tour companies, certain guides and visitors are more aware of the protection to the environment and now they are conscious about how dangerous is for the species to be touched by humans, who are usually covered by creams and repellents that are poisons that animals absorb by the skin.
This way little by little, these bad practices are changing and now instead of grabbing the animals with our hands, people are just taking a picture, which guarantees a nice memory and of course 0 impact over the observed species.
There are still those “Tarzan like” guides that continue with this wrong practices, many times trying to justify his lack of knowledge with this “brave displays”, that only cause negative impacts in the animal populations.
On board the Manatee Amazon Explorer, we have applied a policy of 0 negative impact over very sensitive species, only if it is really necessary and taking all the protective measures (for the species), we proceed to touch and disturb them, also we try to create a consciousness in our visitors about the protection and respect for the animals, so we can change finally the idea that normally humans have of touching always everything that is in front of us.