As a fast moving cloud covered the intense sun, it lent a brief respite from the glare that reflected off the swift current of water cascading over the sharp rocks ahead of him.
It was time to make a decision to what change of direction he needed to take. He could attempt to make the climb up the steep jungled hillside across the water; he could see long ropey tendrils from the Fiscus trees that would give him an almost Tarzan attempt to escape.
Hiding was an alternative as well, tucking into the dark and secret root folds of the massive Lupuna trees nearby. There he would hear them passing by, in search of him and his precious cargo.
The canvas backpack he carried was heavy and he didn’t know how much longer he could continue on in the hot and humid rain forest. Time was running out.
Quickly he glanced at the strapping of the canvas pack. No matter what route he took, he knew he’d not make it to his destination as hoped, safely. They weren’t far behind now and he knew once sighted, he would not be long for this world. His cargo would disappear into the world of illegal trade.
The man realized his only option now was to release what he so desperately was trying to save. He could hear his pursuers closing in, crashing through the dense jungle behind him. Machetes slashing green thickets of vines, grasses and tall bushes like sharp silver swords.
Quickly, he released the strappings of his pack. Nestled inside were two young hooded birds. Future raptor kings of the Peruvian rain forest of Tambopata.
With a thick gauntlet he quickly brought the first bird to his chest, releasing the hood with his right hand. He raised his fist high into the air, allowing the young bird to push off of his fist with powerful feet and sharp talons. He did likewise with the second bird. Go – Now – Fly! He watched intently as both birds found one another and circled effortlessly up towards the forest canopy to safety.
The man had gifted the rainforest his all. As he silently slide down into the thick tall grass he prayed the birds would one day produce more of their species, to grow the dwindling counts of the threatened Harpy Eagle of rain forests. He could hear pounding feet now. So close. He bowed his head and closed his eyes.