MADIDA NATIONAL PARK (BOLIVIA)
One of the few last fully preserved rainforests in the world, this Bolivian tourist attraction is teaming with poisonous wildlife and vegetation. In the diary of wildlife photographer Joe Sartore, he recounts his adventures as he visits the park for the National Geographic. As if out of Resident Evil, Joe recounts: ‘My host, RosamarÃa Ruiz, digs a live botfly maggot out of her calf at the dinner table. “Boro,” she shrugs. “It’s nothing”‘.
He spends most of his time casually taking photographs, but getting the full effect of nature’s backlash of his unnatural presence: ‘(I) touch a moth tonight, then wipe sweat from my face. I spend the next few hours with my face and hands on fire. Bugs here are toxic’. As if the rainforest is trying to run him and his camera out he continues to photograph, slightly more terrified now for his life.
One night, his lead driver tells him a lovely story including KILLER PIGS: “We were hunting the chanchos (pigs) last year near the RÃo Beni, not far from here. We saw a group of fifty. We killed ten. This made them mad. They charged us. We ran and climbed trees. One of my friends didn’t get high enough, and the chanchos pulled him down. We heard screams for a while, then waited to come down. When we found him, we found only pieces. Many pieces.”
As if to make things worse, Joe returned to the US to find that he had contracted eishmaniasis — caused by a flesh-eating parasite. The infection spread on his leg and created a hole , which was eventually controlled through surgery and treatments such as chemotherapy. He is fine now, but I’m sure won’t be going back.
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