We set up another pitfall trap today in a forested part of the savanna which has water in the rainy season, but when we were there, most of it had dried up. There were lots of signs of hippos, which has become pretty common, and tons of little frogs. I can see one problem they will have with the road they want to put in, and that is hippos crossing at night.
The young frogs are interesting, they all have different patterns in their attempts to mimic the leaves so they do not get gobbled up. Oh and the first spot we checked for the traps had a huge black snake that zipped up a tree with no problem, so we moved on!
Today I felt bad for the frogs, which started a day earlier. The specimens that are collected are going to end up in a museum, in the U.S. and Gabon, which means they have to die. Yesterday, when photographing some tree frogs I felt sorry for them. It wasn’t that intense, but my brain began to wrap itself around the fact that this frog that I am photographing is going to die.
Today it hit me more, oddly enough with a big fat toad. It wasn’t elegant, or handsome, but it was huge and fat, I guess to me, the epitome of a toad. I think a good comparison to it would be deer with huge antlers: some people want to put their heads on the wall to showcase them, and others are happy to see them in the wild and that is it. Nature should be proud of this toad, and I know it is for science, but it is still a bummer that such a fine specimen has to end up in a museum. At the same time, you could say it is an ambassador for its species, so that perspective helps me be a little less dreary.
I worked with the amphibian team today while they took out one set of amphibians traps and then set them up in another spot, with the help of the two drivers and sous-chef. It’s a lot of work, so the team needed the help. A plastic line is used as a wall to corral the amphibians into buckets in the ground. It was fun to shoot, and the team is pretty happy-go-lucky, but everyone was exhausted at the end, and hungry.
The spot was a nice one, it looked like primary forest with some huge trees, and a swampy area in the middle. There were tons of juvenile frogs, but we did not see any adults. There was also signs of hippo, buffalo, and elephants, so it’s a good spot to remember for the future…
There was a beautiful sunrise this morning as a result of the lingering mist that had previously limited our sight to a mere 10 meters.
Today I photographed whatever I could within walking distance around camp. I wanted to shoot the flowers I had seen in the beginning with Alfonso and Tobi. Macro work is one of my favorite types of photography. Whenever you stop and look around there are always small plants and insects to photograph.
Yve and I are going through the live fish photos, identifying the species and putting in the metadata.
The pretty fishing spot we had visited from just a week ago is already drying up. Antoine and Jean Claude caught a ton of cephalus micro in the spot because it had nowhere to hide. It was good to find it, as we did not have a live photo of that species. Though Yve said they are hard to keep alive and I see why. They are definitely finicky and did not like the fish tank at all. I’ve started to accept some of the species are either not photogenic, or uncooperative (which is understandable), and you cannot tell until which kind they are until you throw them into the studio.
We’ve ended up with only 3 species of killifish as far as we know, yet the color variations can be huge, reds, blues, and whites.