Paul Rosolie (@paulrosolie) is an author, conservationist, and badass. I was so happy to have him on the show to share some of his unbelievable stories of solo treks deep into the Amazon, his writing process, and his work in animal conservation.
Paul’s spent the years in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon, an experience he recounts in his first book Mother of God. Paul has stories about wrestling down giant anacondas, plunging in the river after caiman, coming face-to-face with jaguars, and solo journeys deep into uncharted parts of the Amazon.
Paul’s second book The Girl and the Tiger is a beautiful story about a girl in India who finds a tiger cub and sets about trying to return it to the jungle. Through the narrative, it confronts many of the important issues with tiger and elephant conservation in India.
In the podcast, we talk about how Paul managed to become a writer after growing up dyslexic and dropping out of high school.
Paul had me cracking up when he argued that the Amazon isn’t really that dangerous. In fact, “the Amazon is a pretty chill place,” he says casually. He talks about having bouts of Dengue Fever and Malaria as if describing mild indigestion.
Paul was the star of a 2014 nature documentary special on the Discovery Channel called Eaten Alive. In the special, Paul was supposed to be swallowed by an anaconda in the Amazon. The show drew a lot of criticism from animal rights groups, and even Paul himself, who was was not happy with the way it turned out. But Paul explains that it was a massive learning experience and he remains dedicated to his conservation efforts.
We talked about some of the problems that face the Amazon today. Paul is a very passionate conservationist, but he also has a different perspective than many. While others condemn the poachers, loggers, and miners for ruining the rainforest, Paul argues that they can be good people who are just trying to feed their families. They don’t want to destroy the rainforest.
So Paul believes in trying to provide these people with other opportunities in the form of ecotourism. He is the co-founder of Tamandua Expeditions, which takes visitors on tours into the Amazon and employs locals in the process. He also founded JungleKeepers, which hires locals as rangers to help protect the Amazon and stop illegal activities like logging or poaching.
Check out Paul’s website for more info.