Naturalist Greg Greer

 

A lifelong naturalist, Greg Greer is one of IE's guest-favorite guides, having spent 11 years on-staff as an expedition leaders and photographer. Over the 20 years that he has been guiding tours, Greg has gained a reputation for his friendliness and good humor, along with his incomparable knowledge of natural history. Greg’s travels have taken him to 50 countries to see the most remarkable wildlife areas in the world, including Antarctica, Australia, India, Indonesia, Africa and of course, the Peruvian Amazon.naturalist guide greg greer

 


 

Camels in the Americas? How crazy is that? Many millions of years ago, camelids (the camel family) were part of the fauna of North America. They existed and gradually evolved from tiny creatures the size of a domestic cat to animals the size of a goat...and eventually even much larger. The camels of North America survived until about 12,000 years ago, when humans crossed the Bering land bridge into North America.

Today, there are tremendous threats to the Galapagos Islands. Many of them are quite tangible and recognizable while others are more difficult to grasp and determine the impact of a particular alien species.

Is there such a thing as a nocturnal monkey? Yes, and only in the New World tropics and they go by two different names, both of which are very fitting: the Owl Monkey or Night Monkey.

The Humboldt penguin is very similar in both size and appearance to the more southerly Magellanic penguin. When observed from the front, they are quite easily distinguished by looking at the dark chest band or bands depending on the species. The Humboldt penguin has a single black chest band on an otherwise white chest and belly whereas the Magellanic penguin has two black chest bands.

For any travelers journeying to the Peruvian Amazon, there are a couple of tree species that always attract a lot of attention: the enormous kapok trees and the much smaller and extremely more prevalent cecropias.

April 25, 2014

Hello Heliconias

Heliconias are a common flower in the cut flower industry but most people have no idea where they are naturally found. Heliconias are found throughout the Neotropics as well as on many Pacific Islands west to Indonesia. Because of the beautiful, often long draping flowers of the heliconias, the plants are also very desirable as garden plants in regions where it does not get cold.

Varzea. Igapo. Terra firma. These terms, while unfamiliar to most people, are extremely important in the types of habitats they describe. While on IE's Amazon River cruises, guides will occasionally use these terms and explain the meanings but rarely is there time to more fully describe how important and why these terms are meaningful.

To most people, the words “giant hairy spider” send chills down the spine and basically give people the "heebe geebees.” For me, as a naturalist, I love finding big hairy spiders and it gives me great pleasure in finding a ficus tree (strangler fig type) full of holes with lots of tarantulas prowling under the hours of darkness. 

There is little in nature as enduring as a penguin. They somewhat resemble little humans in tuxedos and walk like Charlie Chaplain of the silent movie era. Actually, penguins were walking on earth and ice and swimming in the southern Oceans long before the days of Charlie Chaplain, so it should be said he walked like a penguin as opposed to the other way around. There are a few species of penguins known to occur at the Southern tip of South America but only the Magellanic penguin is a common resident.  

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