jennifer downey
Primordial Flight
Oil on wood panel
24 x 20"
In late 2012, I spent a month in the Brazilian Amazon, researching the effect of dams on rivers, their species and ecosystems.

The giant catfish depicted here, Brachyplatystoma rousseaxuii, has the longest reproductive migration of any freshwater fish, traveling from the mouth of the Amazon 3,400 miles to the spawning areas in the western tributaries of the Amazon. Newly constructed dams, such as the Santo Antonio and Jirau, on the Madeira River, are greatly impacting those migrations. The Black Skimmer, pictured here with the catfish, has the distinction of being the only bird whose lower mandible is longer than the upper--it uses it to skim the surface of the water and scoop up small fish. Its nesting sites are disrupted by dams.
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