Author(s): Sarah Woods
When writer and intrepid traveller Sarah Woods set about discovering the jungles of Central and South America, her quest - to catch sight of one of the few last breeding pairs of Harpy Eagles - took her into some of the most remote tangles of vine-knotted jungles on the planet. In Panama's rain-soaked Chiriqui highlands, she navigated seemingly impassable trails with a machete to reach Quetzals with resplendent jewel tone plumage. Sarah sought the native wisdom of the indigenous Embera deep in the Darien Jungle in order to encounter the world's largest and most powerful birds of prey, the elusive Harpy Eagle. Using razor-sharp talons to hunt and kill sloths and monkeys with deadly precision, these mammoth, winged dinosaurs hide a lesser-known, softer side: devoting great care to raising their young for the first two years of their life. Seldom seen in the wild, Sarah struggled to demystify the fear-riddled legends and superstitions that earned the Harpy Eagle its name from early explorers. Sarah's voyage taught her much about the rich glories and mesmerising spectacle of the natural world and also its challenges and dangers. She met the albino 'moon children' of Kuna Yala, swam in the Panama Canal, encountered left-wing guerrillas at the heart of Colombia's five-decade conflict, and witnessed the Amazonian shape-shifting beliefs of the jungle afterlife. Sarah survived landslides, crash landings, mammoth floods and culture clashes in mysterious untrodden lands, learning much about aspects of herself from the incredible wildlife and tribal peoples she encountered - arguably her biggest journey.
One woman's quest to encounter the enigmatic Harpy Eagle in the rainforests of South and Central America
For two decades Sarah Woods has travelled non-stop, circumnavigating the globe in several directions and clocking up over 1-million kilometers along the way. She has travelled all the continents and navigated many of the world's most iconic landscapes. She is a veteran of jungle treks and wildlife conservation expeditions and an early pioneer of Giving Something Back and responsible travel. Now based in the UK again, Sarah is a regular travel expert/contributor to daytime TV and BBC radio, and she has written extensively for more than 70 magazines worldwide, including National Geographic, Wanderlust, BBC Wildlife, Wild Travel and Traveller. She works closely with Europe's biggest wildlife conservation charity, the RSPB, is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and the International Travel Alliance.