The Paiche; Amazon’s colossal prehistoric fish

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Jairo Natorce’s surveillance post in Lake Yarina, deep in Peru’s Amazon rainforest, does not have water or electricity. He works alone in this part of the park on the banks of a river full of piranhas and alligators. Here, he has one sole purpose: to protect one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots on the planet and, particularly, a colossal prehistoric fish called paiche.

For the past 20 years, Natorce has been one of the park rangers in charge of protecting Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Peru that’s more than two million hectares – half the size of Denmark or Switzerland. The reserve was created in 1972 mainly for the conservation of arapaima gigas, better known in the region as paiche or pirarucu, the second-largest river fish in the world.

According to a Brazilian legend, the paiche is a mythological creature with origins in a ruthless warrior named Pirarucu, who – due to his extreme cruelty – was damned by gods to be preyed upon by storms, thunder and lightning. Cornered without escape, Pirarucu hid himself in the river where he eventually morphed into a giant fish with thick red scales.


What Are Your Thoughts?


Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!