Rain Forest for Ransom

Photograph by Sebastian Liste for TIME

Heart of the forest Ecuador's Napo River feeds into the Amazon in oil-rich Yasuni National Park

The canoes slip away from the dock, the morning mist still clinging to Anangucocha Lake in eastern Ecuador's Yasuni National Park. The water is the ink black of old tea, the paddles vanishing beneath the surface with every stroke. The Amazon rain forest has yet to fully awaken; the silence is broken only by the call of a distant troop of red howler monkeys. Then a single small squirrel monkey — easy to pick out with its black-and-white masked face — scurries along a branch arching over the river, followed by another and then another. Soon the trees are...

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