They search for dead meat, and rummage through the trash. They come from the forest and live on the city's waste. They're called "urubus" in northern Brazil, black vultures with curved beaks and lizard-like heads.
Bishop Kräutler is now 73. He's been living in Altamira, on the edge of the rainforest and in the middle of the Amazon region, for almost 50 years. For the last 30 years, he has been fighting the construction of the dam directly adjacent to the city, a project that is financially lucrative for many in the area.
He and his friends from environmental organizations advise the victims, file lawsuits against government agencies and plan rallies. He has spoken with prosecutors and the country's supreme court, has met with the president twice and was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize, but all to little avail.
Altamira's population is expected to reach 300,000 soon, up from only 100,000 not too long ago. The developers call the dam Belo Monte, or "beautiful mountain," while the dam's opponents call it Belo Monte de Merde, or "beautiful mountain of shit." The dam attracts workers, causing the city and its garbage dumps to grow, which in turn attracts black vultures from the jungle.
Kräutler's fight is a struggle against the biggest construction site in the largest rainforest on earth. The first of 24 turbines is expected to be up and running in 2015. Starting in 2019, the dam will have as much generating capacity as 11 nuclear power plants. To achieve this, 18,000 workers are moving as much earth as was moved to build the Panama Canal. They are creating a reservoir larger than Lake Constance to build the world's third-largest dam, which is also expected to become a symbol of Brazil's motto "Ordem e Progresso," or "Order and Progress."