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petency when it comes to a description
of the flora of the jungle, incompetency
both scientific and linguistic. I doubt
if the jungle as a whole can be de-
scribed-it can only be marveled at.
It is beautiful, appealing, terrifying. I
never cease to wonder at the trees-
giant moras,
moras, borigon, cavanillesia,
ceibas, rubber, and fig. The enormous
trunks with great buttressed roots rise
a hundred feet without a limb, and
then spread out literally to hide the
sky. Limbs, so high that one can

I must confess to absolute incom- scarcely see them among the leaves,

drop lianas to the ground-long tangled lines like the wrecked rigging of some masted ship. Then there is the secondary growth, a hundred varieties of tree ferns and palms, suited by nature to grow in semidarkness, robbed of the sunlight by their giant neighbors.

exploration, that of small parties of four or five men, packing all their supplies on their backs, and remaining out as long as their supplies lasted, or as long as they could subsist on the country. In this manner I made a number of trips of from two weeks to a month's duration, deep into the jungle, and learned something of what was beyond the edge. We saw the jungle at its best, became familiar with it, and learned to depend on it for shelter and most of our food.


One of the things to beware of in jungle travel. The black palm is a common tree in the virgin jungle of Panama. The thorns which cover it are very sharp, and the newcomer in the jungle invariably receives many painful wounds from it before he learns to look first instinctively when about to lay his hands on small trees to push them aside as he walks through the jungle. The wood of the black paim is very beautifully colored in alternate longitudinal layers of black and white, and is much in demand for canes

Between my first and second year of exploring, I came north in desperation and appealed to the Smithsonian Institution at Washington for some knowledge of the flora of this region. The reply I received was discouraging, and vet should be an incentive to every botanist and naturalist: "One man could spend a lifetime studying the flora of that jungle, and then not know it; more than 80 per cent of the jungle growth in Panama is unknown to science."

My ignorance of the flora extends also to the fauna, except that from many years of wilderness loafing and big game hunting in the North I have. naturally come to a sort of practical method of study all my own, and have learned to observe with some little truth, but with very little science. In fact, except temperamentally and physically, I was in no manner equipped for a scientific study. Nor with my many military duties connected with

1 To Professor Henry Pittier, who probably knows this jungle more intimately than does any other scientist, having spent many years of field study in Costa Rica, and who has actually taken one trip into the very country in which I was working.


exploration, mapping, and the management and supply of my men, was I able to devote much time to natural history. The first year I was totally unprepared. The second year I went better equipped from a scientific point of view, and I believe I made a collection of specimens, notes, sketches, and photographs that might have been of some little value, but unfortunately these were all lost by the capsizing of my cayuca a mile out at sea when returning from my longest expedition. Right here I cannot refrain from intruding a word of caution to men inexperienced in jungle field work. Put not too much faith in the waterproof qualities of canvas bags or the tin containers provided for waterproofing photographic films. Avoid the dug-out cayucas, particularly those with little freeboard, when traveling with precious material. Put no trust in the native judgment.

The bird life is no less wonderful than the vegetation. The Panama jungle is alive. with birds. The variety and coloring are truly remarkable. Even before I had begun to read anything on tropical birds I had noticed the remarkable restriction of the activities of certain birds to certain areas or . "zones" of the jungle. In the region where I did most of my work there seemed to be three areas of bird life. dependent on the altitude, and three or more dependent upor. the jungle construction. In addition to these there is what we may call the second-growth area, the birds in this being seldom seen in the virgin jungle. As regards

1 When we emerged from the jungle we were away down the Caribbean coast near the San Blas Indian country. With a couple of natives and a large dugout canoe I started to cruise up the coast to Colon. A few hours after we started we encountered rough seas off a point of land and the canoe was swamped, spilling us all out in the ocean, which was infested with sharks. Fortunately no men were lost and we were blown ashore finally on a practically uninhabited coast. But I did lose all my outfit except a little pack which contained my maps, films, and camera. The camera was totally ruined, and although all the exposed films were in so-called waterproof cans, they filled with salt water and all the photographs were spoiled.


altitude there are the sea-level or lowcountry area, the two-thousand-foot area, and the area above three thousand feet.

As regards the jungle at any point we can distinguish four areas, which we may designate as the ground, the low-bush, the medium, and the treetop. On the ground I observed several varieties of quail, tinamou, and pheasants. In the low-bush area are wrens, humming birds, thrushes, ant birds, and a variety of other species either common to the United States or unknown to me. In the medium zone, halfway to the leafy ceiling of the jungle, dwell doves, guans, owls, motmots, and trogans. High up in the roof are parrots, parrakeets, macaws, toucans, and cotingas.

Many birds seen in large numbers in

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the low countries we found absent at high altitudes. I never saw guans below one thousand feet, nor toucans above that altitude. The yellow and black orioles build their hanging nests everywhere in the low country but they were not seen in the mountains. Please understand that what I write should not be taken as establishing anything. The time for observation was too short, and my own observations, while I think they were accurate, were not based on scientific study. What I want to point out, in fact the whole reason why I have undertaken this sketchy description of the Panama jungle, is that I believe the region is very worthy of intensive study by a first-class field naturalist. Particularly that very high part to the south of Nombre de Dios should be investigated, as it may be found to contain new forms, or to mark a northern limit of some forms hitherto

believed to be confined to the Andean regions.

The mammal life of the jungle is also very abundant. The ordinary traveler, however, will see little of it owing to several conditions which only a man with extensive hunting or collecting experience will realize. The constantly shifting winds of the jungle carry one's scent far and wide. The rustling of the vegetation and other noises as one walks, alarm the game. Moreover, everywhere in the jungle are sparks of bright light, the result of the filtering of the intense tropical sunlight through small openings in the leafy roof overhead. These sun patches sparkle like diamonds everywhere. I think that the game watches these patches and is particularly alarmed when they are hidden by sudden shadow. At any rate, when I began to avoid these sunny spots, and to take

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The jungle is entirely uninhabited except for a few natives who live on the Caribbean coast and never venture into the interior. They subsist on coconuts, bananas, yams, and fish. They gather ivory nuts, raise bananas, and make charcoal for a living, selling their produce to small sailing vessels which visit the villages every three months or so. They are expert canoe men and their cayucas are works equipped with a small sail. of any of the country other


The coast cayuca always has a turned up bow and stern and is Invariably these natives of the coast have not the slightest knowledge than the route to the next village


extraordinary precautions as to wind and noise, I began to see animals. Among those I observed were tapir, deer, peccary, agouti, paca, sloth, coati-mundi, kinkajou, anteaters, monkeys, otter, puma, jaguar (spotted and black), ocelot, squirrels, opossums of many varieties, and rabbits.


Snakes were fairly numerous, the harlequin snake, boa constrictors, and a very long and thin bright green tree snake being the most numerous. the two years I observed only two ferde-lance. It is said the bush master is met with occasionally, but I have never seen one. The snakes are most decidedly not a menace. In the fifteen years of American occupation of the Canal Zone the hospital records include only one case of snake bite. In fact, practically the only dangers attending jungle exploration are those of malaria and getting lost, added to injuries that may come from from falling limbs and nuts.

One night in permanent camp a limb fell on my cook shack where the three company cooks were sleeping, breaking the cots of the men, and pinning them down to the ground, but fortunately not injuring any of them severely. I made the remark after the accident that that was probably the safest place in the whole jungle now. Afterward, we abandoned this camp for about a month, and on our return discovered that the same shack had again been completely wrecked by an enormous fallen limb.

There is one tree which bears a green nut about the size and shape of a foot-. ball, and weighing seven or eight pounds. I have frequently noted nuts of this kind, that in falling to the ground have buried themselves three or four inches below the level of the earth. A blow on the head from one of them might easily kill a man. Monkeys feed on them, gnawing a circular opening about three inches in diameter through one end of the shell, and then removing the contents with their hands. The


hollow vessel thus formed makes a most interesting and convenient water jug or


I cannot say that the dangers of the jungle ever caused me any loss of sleep. I do not believe they are any greater than the dangers of our own Canadian woods, certainly not as great as the dangers of our Rockies, and far less than the dangers of a modern city street.

I was always interested in the impression that the jungle seemed to make on my men. For my long trips I always selected men having the characteristics of the pioneer-ability to travel without getting lost, physique capable of hard work including heavy packing, love for hunting, and a knowledge of camping and woodcraft. Splendid men they were, every one of them. They enjoyed the work, just as any red-blooded young man would enjoy a camping trip in the woods. But there always came, after a time, a difference in the way they regarded the jungle, and this difference in attitude always came at the same corresponding time, three or four days in from civilization. It would be just at dusk, camp made, the little mosquito-proof tents up, supper cooking, and the hush of evening started. Then far off would begin, "Wough, wough, wough, O wough-h-h, wough, wough," booming from hill to hill, resounding through the whole jungle, terrifying, paralyzing at first until one knows what it is. It is seemingly the howl of some large wild beast, but in reality it is the call of the howler monkey. It is typical of the jungle, speaking at once of jungle peace and jungle war. From the time that my men would first hear this call, they would regard the jungle differently. They were now of the jungle, they had felt its spell, they were coming back; the call of the jungle was in their blood never to leave. And so some day, God willing, I too shall go back, just as I do now in memory.



The photograph clearly shows the banana plantation of the natives, with the second growth trying to choke it out, and beyond, the wall of the virgin jungle.
There is always this clear demarcation between the second growth and the virgin forest, as clearly defined as the difference between a cornfield and heavy woods on
Sometimes for many days we were confined to wading the rivers, there being no other way of getting through the country

a farm "down East."


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