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Expedition team members traveling ion the Curanja River, Peru (Jason Houston)

Travel along the Curanja River was all by our 10m motorized dugout canoe. The river snakes and winds through the landscape among sand bars and ranges from several inches to many feet deep, requiring a full time ‘botero’ (boatman — a position fulfilled by Pro Purús’s Community Conservation Specialist, Jairo Samuel Roque) be perched at the bow, watching for logs, sand bars, and frequently proding the depth. From a March 2015 expedition in the Peruvian Amazon up the Curanja River (Rio Curanja) visiting indigenous communities and the Purús Communal Reserve (Reserva Comunal Purús) bordering the Alto Purús National Park (Parque Nacional Alto Purús) on assignment with Andrew Lawler, the Upper Amazon Conservancy, and Pro Purús for Science Magazine with support from the Pulitzer Foundation. Our goal was to look at the dynamics between local indigenous communities, Isolated Indigenous Communities (“Uncontacted” tribes or Publeos Indigeneros en Asolado or PIAs) and protected areas for cultural and environmental conservation.