Northern Territory students are off to the Amazon to learn more about giant turtles, iguanas and other tropical wildlife.

The field trip is about forging better ties with Latin America and gaining jungle knowledge that can be applied to the Top End.

Charles Darwin University researcher Dr Carla Eisemberg said links between the NT and the Amazon were strong because at one stage the two places were one.

“Once upon a time, Brazil and Australia were part of one continent called Gondwana,” she said.

The view from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) in Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma in the middle of the Amazon forest.
The view from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) in Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma in the middle of the Amazon forest.

“We share many animals and plants because of that.”

Gondwana formed around 540 million years ago and included most landmasses in today’s southern hemisphere.

Dr Eisemberg said Australia and Brazil shared more animals from the same family than Australia and Asia did.

Other similarities between the two regions identified by Dr Eisemberg include their remoteness and the push for development.

She said that similar to Australia, it was common to hear about a desire to develop Brazil’s north.

Dr Eisemberg said people in Australia tended to think there was only pressure to protect the rainforest.

“But no, there is a lot of pressure to develop the Amazon and produce resources like mines and dams,” she said.

It was hoped the students would return to the Northern Territory with valuable wildlife conservation lessons and having broken down some misconceptions.

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