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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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These soldiers are hired by private companies and paid with special funds. As the government has a considerable amount of cattle in the fields on the banks of the Rio Branco, they go to be slaughtered in places along the Rio Negro. A part of the garrison is also occupied with this service for each farm. The milking, until now, has not yet been organized in the province, although there are a few officers assigned this duty.

Forteleza da Barra do Rio Negro

The beauty of the days spent in Barra do Rio Negro was embellished by the interesting coexistence with our traveling companion, Mr. Zani, and his friends; However, in the early days, a singular incident was causing annoyances. We had been hosted, in the aforementioned house, with our Indian servants, resolved to accompany us further, and we would eat our meals, with the closest neighbor, a naïve citizen. He approached us daily to complain of many robberies carried out in his residence, robberies as vicious as evil, which he had no doubt were committed by our employees. First he lost his clean clothes, put on the rope to dry, in his backyard; Then they were missing their kitchen utensils, even those which held delicacies already in preparation for the fire. Our crew, confronted, gave all kinds proof of their innocence, happy that we had insisted on a rigorous surveillance of the neighbor’s hut. A few days later our neighbor had the chance to surprise the thief, and brought him to our house, for he also belonged to us: he

Coati, Ateles paniscus

was a great ape, a Coati (Ateles paniscus, Geoff.), which we used to let run loose. The animal had obeyed his innate instinct of robbery with great dissimulation, and he hid all the stolen objects near his place on the roof; He was discovered, when he came down from the roof by the usual way, emptying the pot of our neighbor, who was cooking meat on the fire: This singular fact gave rise to many stories about the habits of the Coatis. They could be considered the orangutan of Brazil, because it is the largest, most cunning and secretive of all the species of indigenous monkeys. They inhabit isolated trees in the thickness of the virgin forest, in whose highest branches they swing with almost incredible speed, utilizing their long arms and their wide, flexible tail. In captivity, they become tame and playful, and therefore are often domesticated by the inhabitants. This is the species of monkeys, osuginas or Coati-Tapuias, which the Indians say created a tribe of men with tails who live among the springs of the rivers Purus and Jurua. This legend has been narrated to me so often, as has the legend of the Amazon women. Monteiro, the historian, refers even to the testimony, under oath, of a missionary, who, in the year 1752 met an Indian from the jungles of Japura who had a long, five-inch, hairless tail.

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