The world’s longest green anaconda, a 17-foot monster, has been discovered in the Amazon jungle by a BBC Two presenter during filming of a new three-part BBC documentary, Tribes, Predators and Me.
Gordon Buchanan was filming a Waorani hunting family in Ecuador’s deep and remote Amazon jungle when the giant green anaconda (Eunectus murinus) was discovered. The hunting family was tasked with catching and releasing a green anaconda back into the wild as part of the first episode of the BBC Two three-part documentary series.
Capturing the green anaconda individual with the help of the Waorani hunters also gave scientific researchers an opportunity to collect samples to test for the impact of oil pollution in the area. The Waorani are reportedly losing their ancestral lands to oil pollution, according to the BBC.
In the tribal beliefs and customs of the Waorani clans, catching and releasing a giant anaconda back into the wild is a demonstration of strength and bravery.
Although green anacondas are very dangerous snakes capable of capturing and swallowing an adult human whole, the Waorani revere them as a source of spiritual power.
As Buchanan filmed the Waorani hunters, they caught one of the largest and longest anacondas ever, a 17-foot specimen found in its natural habitat deep in the Amazon jungle in Ecuador.
The video shows the Waroani men as they stalked the monster and pulled it from the wet undergrowth alive.
The Waorani (Huaronai or Waodani) are an Amerindian tribe of the Amazonian jungles of Ecuador. They are highly skilled jungle hunters who have mastered the forest environment and the art of survival in a natural environment infested with dangerous beasts, such as jaguars and monstrous anacondas.
The have a distinctive tribal identity and a unique language among other groups in Ecuador. They have been more successful than most other groups in protecting their cultural heritage and lands from other native groups as well as from European settlers. Today, many Waorani clans live sedentary lives in forest communities but they are traditionally hunters and gatherers.
Today, only a few thousand individuals speak the Waorani language. Some Waorani communities have chosen freely to reject contact with the outside world and have moved deeper into the forest to isolate themselves.
Buchanan lived with a Waorani tribal family in the jungle for two weeks. During his stay with the family he learned skills of survival in the jungle. During trips into the forest on dangerous spear hunts with Waorani hunters, he encountered animals native to the Amazonian jungle, such as Amazon river dolphins. He also had an encounter with a jaguar.
The BBC presenter hunted animals in the forest armed only with blow pipes and poison arrows.
Waorani women showed him how to cultivate vegetable gardens deep in the forest and share environment with wild animals, such as monkeys, tapirs, and green anacondas.
The green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, is the world’s largest snake by weight native to tropical South America, but it is shorter in length than the reticulated python. Individuals may reach about 17 feet in length and weigh 30 to 70 kg.
Females are significantly heavier than males.
The marked sexual dimorphism sometimes leads to cannibalism, with the female swallowing the smaller male in a demonstration of opportunistic feeding believed to be due to the female requiring extra nutrition during gestation after breeding.
Although there have been rumors of individuals measuring in excess of 40 feet, there has been no scientific confirmation of the rumors despite a cash reward of $50,000 offered for anyone who can produce a specimen 30 feet or longer. Before the latest catch by the Waorani hunters, a female measuring 17.09 feet and weighing 97.5 kg had been reported
Green anacondas are found in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago. Other species of the genus Eunectus include the yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) found in parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.
The darkly spotted anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei) is a relatively rare species found in northeastern Brazil.
[Image via Wagnermeier/Wikimedia Commons]