The last day with the large mammal team was one of the hardest. We went to Panga, which is hilly, a stark contrast to the flatness of the areas we’ve recently been in. The forest has been logged and is heavily hunted so we did not see many animal signs, it was very quiet except for birds.
It is tick infested, much like the previous area with the small mammal team. The forest is a lot of sharp ups and downs. The toughest area so far, one minute you are walking on level ground and the next it’s a straight drop into a ravine and then a straight climb up out of the ravine.
In the afternoon I headed back to Gamba for a break. I am in the home stretch and after 3 weeks I will be back home. I have had a great time on this trip but I am starting to fade a bit. I will go all out on this last segment and I will be happy to be home in August.
The small mammal team had a lot of captures today, most of them were the Mus’s (small mice) but we had a few of the larger praomyas. The video went exceptionally well, it surprised me in fact. Of all the teams the small mammals have been the most sedentary and repetitive so that might be why the video went so well.
The praomyas at the new site have all had ticks in the mouth, ugh, talk about painful looking. We weren’t sure what they were at first, but zooming into the photo in Aperture showed the little white legs of the ticks.
I went to the coastal forest today with the large mammal team. Hadrien had told me it was a beautiful place, plus I need photos and video of them working in the forest and with the camera traps they are using.
Wow, I really had no idea how pretty it is! An open forest with cool gnarly trees, and spots where all the trees are leaning one way, I assume because of the wind from the beach. I realized back at camp that the sound of the beach in the background that I thought would be nice, isn’t so nice in the video. But it may be the crappy headphones I have, back home I can listen to the audio with nice headphones and maybe it will be different.
Lots of traffic on the team’s camera traps. We also ran into a few monkeys, and I smelled that musky smell again, not sure if its chimps or the larger monkeys. It brings back memories of Goualougo, so I am thinking it’s chimps. It’s not the strong body odor smell you get with gorillas. I’ll ask around in camp, Chris (on the small mammal team) might know, he was also noticing it when we were in the forest.
I am reminded whenever I go into the forest how much Goualougo boot camp really taught me a lot. An amazing forest, pygmies, and Dave and Crickette, cannot really do better then that for teachers.
Finally the heat ends and we have a normal cloudy dry-season day. It was a slow day with the small mammal team, as they set up traps at a new spot. But, thanks to Bernard, and a funny buffalo, I got a usable photo of a buffalo! It was a male eating the new green grass in a spot that was recently burned, so it is great for an editorial shot. I only had my 100mm macro with me but it was better then the 24mm that’s for sure. I only had my small mammal gear since I was also hauling around the big fish tank.
The buffalo was pretty brazen and did not mind us driving up to him.
The hot days continue. The small mammal team believes it has been working with 3 different species, a small mouse, larger mouse, and a shrew. The shrews have quite an odor so we always know when one of those is in a trap. There have been a lot of recaptures, so the rodents must not mind the clinical procedures, or they are just super hungry for the peanut butter, or just dumb! The line of traps was packed up today and they will be put in a new spot.
The heat is devastating.