Photo by and courtesy of Renaud d'Avout d'Auerstaedt under a Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license
I'm sorry for that title. Really, I am. Clearly I need coffee.
For those of you just arriving, you can find my first post on Raising Sancho here. Last night I wrote an e-mail to Dr. Vargas and sent it to the address found by alert commenter Bethany. It reads as follows:
Dear Dr. Vargas:
I'm sure you've been getting many e-mails since "Raising Sancho" has been airing, and I apologize for adding to the lot. I tried to find the answers to my questions on google, but was unsuccessful. And if it were only my questions, I might have been more reluctant to e-mail you.
But I was incredibly touched by Raising Sancho, and I wrote a post about it on my (previously obscure) personal blog. For some reason, my website ended up on the first page of google rankings in English for most related queries, and I've been absolutely deluged with site visitors since then -- all people searching for information on you and Sancho. Several people have left comments on the post expressing their sadness at the uncertainty of the ending. (Post and comments here.) One concerned reader found your e-mail address and asked me to write.
So, I wonder if you could either answer the following questions or point me to a website or article that contains the answers, if there are any.
1. The show stated that, three months after Sancho's departure, you still had not encountered him again. Have you ever seen him since that time? I did review the English portion of one of your scholarly papers here that observes that "sub-adults may wander off as a subgroup for weeks on end, eventually rejoining their parents." Given this behavioral characteristic, I began to wonder if perhaps he had returned after the three months mentioned in the episode.
2. Are you still studying giant otters in the Pantanal? Have you written anything else about your work in English that's posted on the web? Also, I'd be interested in knowing what organizations do significant work with giant otters. I know they face threats from mercury pollution, mining, and possibly illegal mahogany logging. But I have only found one such organization on the internet -- at least, on the English version of , which may be the problem, since it appears that most of the work is done in .
Again, I apologize for adding to what must be a mountain of e-mails. But so many people fell in love with Sancho and found their way to my site, wanting to know more. For myself, I'd just like to say that I think your work, dedication and your devotion to Sancho are absolutely inspiring. I'm fascinated by giant otters, and I'm eager to learn more about them -- and conservations efforts on their behalf -- in the future.
Thank you for your time,
[My name redacted]
I have not yet received a response, but I only sent it twelve hours ago. I'll post any response from Dr. Vargas, if I get one, assuming I have her permission to do so.
Meanwhile, I've been doing a bit more reading. I found this interesting article on the Defenders of Wildlife website. Please take careful note of the "What you can do" section on the right sidebar of that article. Think of Sancho next time you consider buying gold or mahogany. These guys are seriously endangered, and after seeing the show, I can't imagine a world without them.
I also found this website on giant otters. See also the International Otter Survival Fund.
Please post links to any interesting reading that you may have found.