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Story Publication logo October 20, 2020

Lilia: Defending the Amazon's Aquatic Fauna is Defending the World (Portuguese)

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José Gregorio, leader of the Guardia Indígena Ambiental (Indigenous Environmental Guard), poses for a portrait. The photo shows a logo on the front of his shirt representing his organization, which protects the Amazon forest surrounding the Amacuyaco River. Image by Pablo Albarenga. Colombia, 2020.
English

In the heart of a dark triangle in the deep rainforest lie three border towns: Leticia (Colombia)...

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To the left, a series of empty wooden canoes stand by the margins of a river. On the right, Lilia Isolina Java Tapayuri lies down on a plank of wood, looking directly at the camera, captured from an aerial shot. She is wearing a white long sleeved shirt, khaki-colored pants, and no shoes.
Lilia is an indigenous woman from the Colombian Amazon's Tikuna people who dedicates herself to the protecting of the living beings that populate rivers. Image by Pablo Albarenga. Colombia, 2020.

The vital exuberance of the Amazon on the triple border between Colombia, Peru and Brazil has a static quality. It distils an apparent harmony, but it hides several tensions in its tranquility. Here — among the meandering of its abundant tributaries, which flow loaded with organic matter, where an exceptional biodiversity proliferates in the flooding of its slow waters —  the pink river dolphin of the Amazon swims. Since antiquity, this aquatic mammal has held a sacred place in indigenous cosmologies, as it does in many corners of the immense Amazon basin.

For Lilia Isolina Java Tapayuri, community leader of the Cocama peoples, in the Tikuna-Kokama-Yagua reserve, the pink river dolphin is also sacred. The animal occupies a central part in her personal and professional life that led her to play an important role in the conservation effort for the river fauna of this corner of the Amazon jungle.


A exuberância vital da Amazônia na tríplice fronteira da Colômbia com o Peru e o Brasil tem uma qualidade estática. Destila uma aparente harmonia, embora esconda múltiplas tensões em sua tranquilidade. Aqui, entre os meandros de seus abundantes afluentes, que descem carregados de matéria orgânica, onde uma biodiversidade excepcional prolifera na inundação de suas águas lentas, nada o boto cor-de-rosa da Amazônia. Desde a antiguidade, este mamífero aquático ocupa um lugar sagrado nas cosmologias indígenas, como o faz em muitos cantos da imensa bacia amazônica.

Também para Lilia Isolina Java Tapayuri, líder comunitária da etnia Cocama, na reserva Tikuna-Kokama-Yagua, o boto cor-de-rosa é sagrado. Ele ocupa uma parte central em sua vida e trajetória profissional que a levou a ter um papel importante na conservação da fauna fluvial deste recanto da selva amazônica.

To read the full story in Portuguese, click here.