Science, Tech & Environment

A place called 'Hell'

For today's Geo Quiz, we're looking for hell on earth. Actually, it's the Spanish word for hell, infierno. It's a community in South America. Some say it got that name because of the swarms of mosquitoes that descended on early rubber traders passing by on the Tambopata River.

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Today, a big commodity produced in this region is gold, although gold mining has been highly destructive to the forest here. We want you to name the country this place called 'Hell' is in.

A few hints: it's South America's third largest country and it ranks fourth in the world in the number species of frogs and other amphibians.

Infierno sits in an area where the diversity of life is especially great, an area where the Andes Mountains descend into the lush Amazon Basin. Tropical ecologist Enrique Ortiz takes us on a walk through the forest:

"This is one of the richest spots in the planet of species of plants and animals. Just to give you an example, in this forest we have something on the order of 650 species of birds. You put it in context, in all of North America, there is about 700. So here in 10 acres you have almost what you have in millions and millions of acres in North America."

"We're hearing in the background a group, a family, of monkeys named Dusky Titi monkeys. It's sort of like a five or six pound monkey who lives in families, and what you have is the males of two groups are at the edge of their territory and they are being very loud to make sure that the other one knows that this is their place."

"It is right now 9:30 p.m., and actually, night life is way more active than daylight. And this is the time when you actually can realize how rich these places are."

"We are very close to a small pond, and this time of year we are close to the start of the rainy season, and frogs are getting ready. This is sex time. So what you have here is a number of frogs that are starting to call attention of the females and say, 'I'm here, I'm the best.'"

"And we can hear in the background a frog. My guess is that this is a poison arrow frog. It's a solitary guy. Very unique call."

"And it is an irony to be in a place that is called Hell, when what you find here is a paradise. It's a place that is teeming with life."

"My name is Enrique Ortiz. We are in Southeastern Peru, in Infierno native community, and Peru is the answer to today's GeoQuiz."

Our visit to Infierno was produced by The World's Science Editor David Baron. He traveled to Peru with help from the International Reporting Project.