The video above is from the January 2013 iPad edition of National Geographic magazine.

Yasuní National Park, Ecuador, is a rain forest undergoing radical change. Exploring the region’s oil reserves has threatened many native species and habitats, as well as the lifestyle of the indigenous Waorani people.

In this video, photojournalists from National Geographic magazine document the current state of Yasuní National Park by interacting with the environment, as well as the people who have an interest in it.

In the words of photographer Ivan Kashinsky, “It’s a really important story, and one that needs to be told.”

Each of the five photographers who took part in this Yasuní bioblitz focused on a unique aspect of the national park. Use the video’s scroll feature to listen to the photographers talk about their part in the project.

  • (00:39) Tim Laman photographed diurnal animals—those that are active in the daytime, such as monkeys.
  • (01:27) Steve Winter used camera traps to capture images of more elusive animals, such as jaguars.
  • (02:00) David Liittschwager set up his camera to mimic a microscope, in order to photograph some of the park’s smallest inhabitants, such as insects, spiders, and worms.
  • (02:38) Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky documented the changing community and lifestyle of the Waorani people.

Project Idea
Document the environment in and around your home or school by collecting photos, video, and notes about the people, plants, animals, and things around you. Create a photo or video essay to organize your investigation.

  1. Tim Laman photographed diurnal animals, those that are active during daylight hours. What animals do you think Tim could have photographed if he focused on nocturnal animals, which are active at night?

  2. Photographers Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky worked with the Waorani people. The Waorani have lived in and around Yasuní National Park for centuries. Driven by oil-related development projects in Yasuní, the Waorani community is experiencing rapid change. What changes do you think development will bring to the Waorani?

  3. This project involved five photographers documenting four major aspects of Yasuní National Park. If you were a National Geographic editor, what other aspects would you add to the project?

Noun

a field study in which groups of scientists and citizens study and inventory all the different kinds of living organisms within a given area.

camera trap
Noun

remote-activated camera that relies on changes in light or motion to automatically take a photo.

diurnal
Adjective

active during the day.

elusive
Adjective

difficult to capture.

humid
Adjective

air containing a large amount of water vapor.

Adjective

characteristic to or of a specific place.

journalist
Noun

person who reports and distributes news.

mimic
Verb

to copy another organism's appearance or behavior.

national park
Noun

geographic area protected by the national government of a country.

Noun

area of tall, mostly evergreen trees and a high amount of rainfall.

Waorani
adjective, noun

people and culture native to the Amazon and other river basins of eastern Ecuador.