As I prepare for my 10th trip to the Amazon since last summer for the feature documentary @raisingkhanfilm I’m reminded of all the places, people, and wildlife I’ve spent time with since I started: like 18 foot 2000 pound gnasher , a saltwater crocodile living on the Adelaide river in Australia. All these stories made possible by #liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
Perhaps the coolest car in southern India, the snake rescue mobile that @snakesshyam and his son @suryakeerthi82 use to save snakes in harms way. And - yes - the words on the door say “kissing a snake is easier than kissing a girl.” I have no comment on that. Another outtake from my ongoing snake project with @paulrosolie .
Follow @paulrosolie to see some rad videos from our time following snake rescuers in southern India. Paul and I were drawn to this story for many reasons but especially because we were - and are - inspired by the hundreds of Indians we’ve met who are passionate about saving the planet, even snakes! I do not recommend ever getting this close to a cobra, but as you can see in this photo @sanjeev_sapps is within feet and the cobra is not chasing him. Like all snakes he just wants to find a dark place to hide when humans are around. Can’t say I blame her or him.
When sloths attack! And No I’m not kidding, watch the entire video. You won’t be disappointed. @Harry__turner gets bitten by one of slowest creatures on earth. SOUND ON. Will make your week month day. Sloth even makes quite the escape into a nearby tree. @sjzwicker and her team @hojanueva rescued this two toed sloth and Immediately released it on their protected rainforest. Reports coming from local staff say the sloth is thriving on protected land. Remember this sloth was rescued and is BEING released in this video and Harry Happened to get bitten. This happens time to time when working with wildlife. No harassment was taking place. Of course I agree it is ultimately sad this sloth had to be relocated because we destroyed his home and I agree it is sad he is scared but nothing Harry or Samantha or Hoja Nueva did made him scared.
My girlfriend @melissalesh had brain surgery middle of October so I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with her and her recovery. She is recovering with lightning speed and will soon be back to applying her brilliance to the film we are directing in the Amazon. Good thing because she will he the mastermind of the editing , I’ll just be the assistant! One of the great joys of time and experience is learning what you are not good at and then surrounding yourself with people whose strengths compliment yours, and vice a versa. Super grateful for the team we have for @raisingkhanfilm , including @alexandriajb@mallorybracken@mariahewilson@alysanahmias and @orlandovoneinsiedel - and of course @sjzwicker and @harry__turner who have become extraordinary cinematographers in the process of making this documentary.
Photo by @sjzwicker | This is not a photograph that should exist nor is it one you should like unless to say you support the work of those like Samantha and @harry__turner Who give these fellow sentient beings a second chance. Please also refrain from leaving comments about how cute he is or how much you’d love to hold an ocelot like him. You must understand: Keanu was ripped from the wild And his mother by humans who planned to sell him to someone who would keep him as a pet. When he grew in size and age and the wild in him broke through he would have had his teeth filed down, his claws may have been removed, and he would’ve been fed rice and sweet and condensed milk amongst other food items not healthy for cats until he died young. This is a post to celebrate those who give their lives over to giving wildlife a second chance. While it may look amazing to rewild orphaned wildlife, the truth is it is incredibly difficult, heart-wrenching work which requires great sacrifice. Harry for example has spent over 600 days in the amazon without leaving to ensure Keanu is successful. EDITED THOUGHTS: after reading my original caption I can see I could’ve been more tactful/compassionate. Let me add: if all you can spare is a week or two , volunteer locally. If your heart is set on helping abroad, perhaps ask if there are ways you can help from home. If you have special skills an org can use, that is different. I intended this to be targeted at volunteering at rescue centers where there is a problem of foreign volunteers wanting selfies with wildlife. If you think I’m wrong ask yourself why many rescue centers have banned volunteers from taking photos with wildlife and require longer time commitments? it concerns me how many people want photos with animals under the guise they are saving the world. Many organizations only take volunteers because they are desperate for money. This continues until they realize the money they get doesn’t even cover the volunteers stay.
There are people who work in the Amazon who have seen this snake and there are people who work in the Amazon that have never seen this snake. I know people who have looked for it for years. The Amazon Banded Snake is an enigma and makes me think it may be true the most beautiful things are the most elusive. The eyes on this snake are like nothing i’ve seen before, like a distant galaxy photographed by NASA. Photographed in the hands of @harry__turner on land protected by @hojanueva and @sjzwicker
Photo by @sjzwicker who all of you should follow. I’m just out of the Amazon after a whirlwind two weeks in the forest. As is often the case, almost everything we had planned fell through. And then towards the end of the trip I came down with what is perhaps the worst diarrhea I’ve ever had in my life. 20 pounds lighter, extremely weak, and now worried the trip home is going to be interrupted by many runs to the toilet. Also, the Amazon remains incredibly dry, most of the forest I spent time in had leaves turning brown and falling off , and so the fires are still going. Back to work as soon as I get rid of this parasite that is causing me such grief. @eddiebauer#liveyouradventure
The larger a snake is the more we seem to fear it. My time with snakes has shown me that - for the most part - larger snakes, like this 8 foot long clelia clelia or mussurana, seem to be much calmer and easier to deal with. Of course I should add that it helps when the person (@harry__turner) handling the snake has a rapport with wild animals unlike I’ve ever seen.
Many of the fires in the Amazon burn so hot they incinerate all of the small creatures in their path. Shortly after this photograph was made the remains of this small snake turned to dust in the hands of @harry__turner . Follow @hojanueva to help
One of the coolest frogs on the planet, aptly called the PAC Man frog. Apparently they have a voracious appetite and on occasion eat small mice. Back on the road , back to the Amazon. More stories to tell. Will be spending time with @sjzwicker looking at fires local to the area she works before going to check on @harry__turner and Keanu the ocelot.
No idea what the exact species is -but I know it is some sort of leaf mimicking mantis. I photographed it in Cuyabeno National Park thanks to @luksth . As I mentioned the other day: If you enjoy images of wildlife from the Amazon, follow @luksth . Can’t wait to work with him again. #amazon#cuyabenoreserve#mantis#ecuador#prayingmantis
So, as many of you know I went to the Ecuadorian Amazon in January to look for anacondas again , this time with my friend @luksth , who you should follow. Anyway, we found quite a few, though none of them were large - they were like this one, which was about 4-5 ft long. Of course as we were leaving @napowildlifecenter we heard the local giant anaconda made an appearance . No kidding, apparently it was found basking in the open only hours after we had paddled out by canoe. I took it as a sign I should shelve the anaconda work for the time being and focus on the film in Peru, but rest easy snake lovers, @paulrosolie and I will get back to doing more snake work in 2021. We promise.
Early morning on the Las Piedras River, Peru. In 6 days I begin my 7th trip to the Amazon since this time last year. I will always consider it a privilege to visit these places, but It is important to say that while it may seem a romantic swashbuckling adventure : for the most part it is just work. Logistics, broken cameras, misunderstandings , all the stuff anyone deals with in any line of work. I still wouldn’t trade it for a desk job though I could do without the perpetually bad stomach! #liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
Keanu the ocelot. He is about 7 months old in this photo. Exciting to think is now over a year old and is beginning to spend time out in the jungle on his own. When I was last in Peru (10 days ago) he spent his first night in the forest without @harry__turner and has since spent up to 30 hours alone , roaming the woods. Incredible to see his progress and equally mind blowing to think two humans - @harry__turner and @sjzwicker - have literally taught him to be a cat, from what snakes to avoid to learning humans are bad. @melissalesh and I are working hard and hope the film will be out in the world by 2021. We have just started an Instagram for the film which is @raisingkhanfilm . Tune in there for special behind the scenes goodies, everything from equipment we are using, how we are approaching the story, to how we live when filming in the Amazon. Film has been made possible with support from @eddiebauer and @sundanceorg
Sylvester the jungle rabbit was rescued from a small logging town by @sjzwicker and @harry__turner . His reintroduction was meant to be relatively simple but the jungle is a harsh place and a parasite caused the poor little guy to lose control of his hind legs and bowels. Harry and I tried to help him get around by building these wheels for him, which worked, but he passed the next day, just a few hours before anti parasitics arrived to treat him. Working on this film has certainly reminded me - time and again - that we have insulated ourselves from our impermanence. The jungle will certainly take one out of utopia.
Worth posting this again since many of you know I’ve been working on a film in the Amazon for the last year. In fact, Im in the Amazon now and as I write this I can see smoke from the fires in Bolivia and smoke from l fires being started only a short distance from me. Im no expert - but I know fires in the Amazon are not a new thing. I photographed @harry__turner Holding this dead snake in a fire just last year. Anyway, Seems the fires you are hearing about in the news have simply joined to form mega fires, which is why it’s making the news. As a storyteller and contributor to media outlets it disappoints me it takes something of this scale for them to pay attention. In all the chaos of this tragedy it is important to remember that while people are undoubtedly responsible we must differentiate between small scale farmers who are scraping by , surviving, and large corporate machines running cattle and soy operations. Im not sure the large corporations can be convinced of much but the small scale farmers you find where I took this photo can be provided with alternatives. Of course there is also the option of simply helping local organizations that acquire rainforest continue to purchase important tracts of land , which will help. @hojanueva is one organization of many , and the money won’t be paying big salaries.
Amazing yellow Amazon tree boa I photographed with @luksth in the Ecuadorian Amazon. As I write this I’m in a Kia two wheel drive heading back into the Peruvian Amazon to keep filming for the documentary I’m making with @melissalesh@sjzwicker@harry__turner
Kind of how I feel at the moment. Somehow I’m elated and exhausted and terrified , all at the same time. Every single day I wake up and wonder if @melissalesh and I can make this film. I wonder if we are just kidding ourselves. Luckily, every now and then something lifts my spirits and reminds me to trust the process and don’t think about it too hard , for example : finding out we were awarded a grant from @sundanceorg and @sciencesandbox . That helped a lot . It is exciting in particular to be a part of the Sundance family , as they call it. Of course what helps even more are the friends who believed in this story early on , and in particular friends who have joined our team in an effort to bring the story out into the world. Thank you in no particular order to @kristen19772012@modernmtnman@eddiebauer@mariahewilson@alexandriajb@alysanahmias and @orlandovoneinsiedel . And then there is @sjzwicker and @harry__turner and Khan and Keanu whom without there would be no story. They are the reason I leave home and put up with the cursed sand flies and weird rashes of the Peruvian Amazon. I can’t wait to share their story with each of you.
Been a while since I posted a snake. Don’t worry though, I haven’t fallen out of love with them, just been working full time on this film I keep mentioning. Luckily, the characters in our film are always finding snakes , like this one, an amazon whip snake, which was found by @sjzwicker . She or he was older, had the battle scars to prove it. Also, I swear it seemed as if this snake had been around long enough to know we were friendly because it didn’t bite once and whip snakes typically go for you if you try and handle them. Photographed on 5,000 acres of land protected by @hojanueva with support from @eddiebauer#whyihike ? To find snakes
Photo @melissalesh | Another early morning on the Las Piedras River in the Peruvian Amazon. Heading downriver to hike the border of a 6,000 acre parcel of land that was recently acquired and permanently protected by @hojanueva thanks largely to @sjzwicker . First step in protecting land like this is delineating the borders , and only one way to do it: on foot. #whyihike@eddiebauer#liveyouradventure
As many of you are aware, since this time last year I’ve been working on a film in the Peruvian Amazon. The story is evolving but we know one major focus is mental illness and the role nature can play in finding stronger ground for those of us who are affected. Even though I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on mental health I had no idea suicide is the leading cause of death amongst young men in the UK. I also had no idea It is the second leading cause of death amongst all young people in the United States. And I had no idea that On average 22 veterans take their lives each day, roughly one veteran each hour. This film trailer for @evelyn_movie directed by @orlandovoneinsiedel was an awakening for me in many ways. It prompted me to take the time to better understand what is happening and why. The short answer to why is very few people are getting any help, let alone the help they require. @evelyn_movie also reminded me that while we may all be swooned by 4K and 8k and fancy camera work - nothing is as powerful as simple human emotion , like an embrace , woven into a good story. If you haven’t seen this film I encourage you to do so. I will keep turning to it as a guiding light for the film we are making in Peru. Link to film website in my bio. Thanks for watching :)
Early and magical morning on the Las Piedras River in the Peruvian Amazon. When I first went here with my friend @paulrosolie I thought to myself I’ll only visit this place once. Was I ever wrong: @melissalesh and I have made 5 trips since last summer and have another 5 or 6 planned to complete this film about @sjzwicker and @harry__turner . Over the coming months I plan to bring all of you behind the scenes as we work to make this film - so please stay tuned! Special thanks to @eddiebauer for jumpstarting this for us :)
Video by @harry__turner | thanks to @eddiebauer I’m in a small car with @melissalesh heading back to the jungle to continue filming @harry__turner and @sjzwicker and the ocelot, Keanu , they are attempting to re wild. The beauty of this story is we never know what to expect. All we know is what we don’t. Here is your first sneak peek of Keanu himself , meeting a fellow forest dweller: a yellow footed tortoise. We won’t be back online for 11 days. See all of you then.
Love is a funny thing. On the one hand It is the only force powerful enough to stand in the face of logic and talk it down. On the other it can create the most difficult moments we will ever know. I say this because I think often of the great, unspoken strength of those who are friends or family of someone with depression or mental illness. Sometimes, for example, I wonder how my father @iangfrost or my mother @tropicone13 Or my girlfriend @melissalesh can still love me after I can be so awful in my bad moments. It is bewildering. And This brings me to @sjzwicker , pictured here. She is Harry’s best friend, confidant , and foundation. I knew Sam possessed a unbreakable strength and a love for all other living beings few others have when I saw her crouch down and physically comfort half a dozen dogs devastated by mange on a short walk in puerto Maldonado, Peru. I knew then she was different. I knew because even though I felt terrible for the dogs I was thinking in the moment how I would never touch them. She didn’t even think twice. She knew that even a little love would make them feel better. And then there is what she does for Harry, for which there aren’t words to describe the strength she must summon to see him through his struggles. But Sams story is larger than just her relationship with harry. She is 27 years old and has protected over 7,000 acres of primary tropical rainforest through @hojanueva . She employs half a dozens Peruvians in conservation and focuses on transitioning them to running the efforts and yet somehow finds time to complete work for a PhD from the university of Washington. I’d say more here but I want you to see it in the film so I’ll leave at that. And in one final effort, please help @hojanueva get to $8,000, if you can. Link is in bio. Thanks so very very much.
What does depression look like? What does PTSD look like? I can’t tell you because they are faceless ailments. Unless someone is self harming , it is close to impossible to tell whether they are struggling from their appearance. In this photograph , @harry__turner doesn’t look depressed or anxious. The truth is he isn’t, not here, and that’s because of the small bunny you see. And, yes, the bunny has wheels. His name is Sylvester. Sadly, Sylvester passed away from parasites that caused him to lose control of his legs and bowels. The wild is a beautiful but very unforgiving place. I remember when I was there that @harry__turner would wipe Sylvester’s bum almost every hour. And then almost as often Harry would hand feed Sylvester his favorite food: broccoli, which you see here. I also remember it made Harry happy. It was, For a moment, as if all Harry’s struggles with mental health were gone. Most of us have felt this with our pets. It isn’t hippy shit. Science has shown us animals can help us. I don’t want to give away too much , but with this film , which is as of yet untitled, @melissalesh and I will be highlighting the lives of @harry__turner and @sjzwicker in the Amazon in an attempt to do what science can’t: make people care about the facts. @hojanueva has raised a little more than half of their $10,000 goal. If you can, please donate via link in my bio. If you can’t, I still love you, just keep following along and doing your best to be your best. Love me