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Three Foxes (A Camera Trap Post)

So here is a post based on what the blog is named after, a camera trap in Cornwall. I had a lot of chicken pieces left over from dinner and...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bouvier's Red Colobus Expedition: Your Chance to help Primates and Science.

Followers of this blog may remember that I disappeared into the Congo rainforest for 9 months. I was habituating bonobos and when my time was over I was replace by a Belgian named Lieven Devreese. When Lieven was there he was searching for golden bellied mangabey and other monkeys. Now Lieven is planning an expedition to the Republic of Congo to search for a species of red colobus, the Bouvier's red colobus monkey, not see since the 1970s. No one knows if it still exists so he is going to find out. If it does exist then protection for the species can be put into place. Now icier chance to help protect primates, the rainforest and help science. To make the expedition success donations are required. Please if you can help fund this rare and exciting expedition. I wish I could tag along but have other plans myself. So please head over to the site and donate. If you donate a certain amount you will be rewarded with different gifts such as a congolese bracelet, a media pack of the trip, a postcard with a congolese stamp or even a talk depending on how much you donate.  Thank you.
Click here for the expedition page (link)

Below is Lieven in a video explaining in more detail.

Facebook Page
Expedition Page

Friday, 14 November 2014

Congo Watercolours

Over the last few weeks I have decided to start painting some scenes from my time in the Congo. I enjoy painting and it brings back memories. Over time I hope to improve on my technique. Below are scans of my paintings so far.  Each one has a small story to it. I hope you enjoy them.

The Congo peacock is endemic to the D.R. Congo. I had read about the species beforehand and hope to see one. When I arrived in camp I was pleased to hear that everyone had seen at least one, and usually a pair. However it took me over 3 months before I first saw one. I heard them plenty before hand calling out of the darkness. When I finally saw my first pair I was ill. I was returning from the forest after feeling unwell during a shift. Just 300m from camp a pair crossed the transect. Even though I was ill I still followed them. I was so happy I had finally seen this beautiful bird, and a pair at that. I then realised I had not paid attention to where I was and stumbled around the forest for a while trying to find camp. I saw a few more pairs before leaving but never good enough views to get a photo.

Kebo was about 3 years old when I arrived. He was a confident young bonobo and often would watch us with fascination. 

 Just a quick outline here as the story is a long one. We had a platform built over a baii where elephants go to collect salt. I decided to sleep at the platform on a full moon to search for them. We had not had any rain in August so I went at the full moon at the end of August. I spent the afternoon there seeing birds and as night fell I scanned using my night vision scope. I eventually drifted off. I was woken up at 4am by a rumble. I was so excited thinking it was an elephant. Then The sky lit up and another rumble as a storm approached bringing the only rain in August. I packed up and tried to stay in the tree but the rain became very heavy as did the wind. I gave up and walked home in the storm not seeing any elephants. I tried again but in the day and did see a bongo. Another researcher slept in the tree a few months later and was lucky to see a herd of elephants.

Mangos was quite a character. He was one of our local bonobo workers. One day after a shift we came across Mangos in the river bending over with his machete. He struck the water and picked up a fish. We thought it was a lucky blow until he unwrapped a leaf and placed the fish in it with two more fish. He carried on and caught many more. It was quite a feat having to compensate for refraction. Each shot was on the head so the fish died instantly. I was impressed by the accuracy.

One day after the rains one of the pirogues (dug out canoe) floated out of the "port" and into the main river. It sailed away before getting lodged in a fallen tree. It required many of us to free it. As we where doing so a storm was brewing so we had to hurry. Once free we had a race back to camp in the pirogues.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lui-Kotale BBC film Crew

Long term readers of this blog may know that I dissapered into the Congolese rainforest for 9 months last year. I have posted a few entries into this blog to give you an idea of what life was like. Before I went in a BBC film crew visited to film the bonobos for the new documentary Life Story. On the programme website there is an interview with Gottfried Hohmann who was my boss and a snapshot of what it was like hiking many kilometres each day. The crew had a hard time and where only there for 6 weeks. Imagine 9 months. If you live outside the UK these clips may not work for you due to BBC terms and conditions. Those who can see it enjoy. They are only a few minutes each.

The first is the interview with Gottfried, the second is the film crew being exhausted. Here is the link to the page with a bit more information (link).