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Iguazu National Park Alligator Collecting Pesos

I have the picture of the alligator and the peso, but I am not going to show it. As I was photographing this alligator, there was an incident. But first, is it an alligator or a camine? I had some fantastic guides along my expedition. The group I was traveling with included many professional wildlife photographers, very serious naturalists, and even a vet who works for the Honolulu Zoo. Together, to begin with, we were a formidable collection of knowledge and experience. So, we had a high level of expectation set for the guides. Iguazu was the last stop for the group before it was time for everyone to head their separate ways. The guide we got essentially was pointing and saying that's a bird, that's a tree, etc. I'm exaggerating here but only a bit. When I asked her if there were alligators around, she said yes. I asked alligators or camine? Yes, yes, she said, South American Alligators. Shortly after, our tour leader availed our guide of her service to us. We all went off on our own. Pretty soon I came across a South American Alligator. It was just resting on the rocks, below the walkway I was on, with just its head out of the water. As I'm photographing it, people were walking by and looking and talking and making a big commotion. The alligator stayed still the whole time. Then another group came along led by a guide. They stopped, and he pointed to it. Ah, a camine, he said. I knew it! They soon got bored and moved on. The camine was still hanging around. Another mob a people came along. I'm still photographing. All the sudden a bunch of knuckleheads started throwing pesos at it. I couldn't believe it. I was outraged. I wanted to throw them in. But the camine was too small to eat them and would have probably been scared off. So, that wouldn't have done any good. I just yelled. They stopped and moved on. But the camine, still there, was outlined in pesos. What a great nature shot, huh? So, I left. It turns out that the tour leader had seen the camine there the day before at the same place and at about the same time of day. A member of the group said it was probably only an animatronic alligator -- I mean animatronic camine. And that it was planted there just to collect some extra cash. They were just trying to cheer me up.

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Copyright 2006, 2007 by Dan Linehan