When we last checked in with the team, they had left the city of Kisangani behind and were traveling to the remote research station of Obenge, located on the Lomami River. There, they hoped to begin their research in ernest by collecting samples from 30 unique elephant herds that roam the area. But this week's journal entry, posted on the team's website, indicates that the work is going slower than expected.
Andy, Trip, and their guides arrived in Obenge last week following two days of travel by motorcycle from the nearby city of Kindu. Once there, they began a four-day hike through the jungle in search of the elephant scat that is so important to the project, but unfortunately all they found were massive amounts of insects and poachers. The insects were so bad at one point, that the travelers didn't leave their tent at night, as a massive number of army ants had invaded their campsite, and it wasn't going to be pretty if they strayed out too far.
Unfortunately, after four very long days in the bush, they returned to Obenge empty handed. They didn't find any elephants at all, but did discover a clearing that was once used be the creatures for grazing for food. They estimated that it had been a number of years since the herds were in the area, but considering the forest they are exploring is approximately the size of West Virginia, they weren't too worried about where the elephants were located.
Trip and Andy were however happy to find that a second team, working in conjunction with them, had more success on their excursion into the jungle. That group returned to camp with five samples of elephant dung, far below the 30 they're hoping to find in the region, but a solid start none the less.
Also of note in the journal entry for this week is that the Congolese military had a clash with poachers in the TL2 forest region as well. The poachers were most like there to collect ivory, and a shootout ensued that left one of them wounded and all three taken into custody. The team encountered poachers of a different kind when they were on their four-day hike as well. They came across a camp that was occupied by a man who was illegally collecting bird species to sell on the open market. The man had a permit to capture the birds, but not in the protected region of TL2. Officials have been called in to shut down the operation, but both of these incidents give you an indication of how wide spread and problematic poaching can be in Africa.
To get the full effect story on the expedition, you really should read the journal entries, which are found by clicking here. They give you a great sense of what it is like for Trip and Andy on the ground in the Congo, and what they are dealing with in terms of living conditions and local attitudes. This is quite the adventure that is playing out at this very moment.
Photo courtesy the Elephant Ivory Project
These articles might interest you :
African Forest Elephant Classification and Evolution The African Forest Elephant is one of two Elephant subspecies found on the African continent. Read moreBy Azanimals
ANIMALS & WILDLIFE, ENVIRONMENT
Publicity surrounding Sri Lanka’s first elephant census in 100 years has given rise to debate as to whether the count is for conservational purposes or to find... Read moreBy Frontiergap
ANIMALS & WILDLIFE, ENVIRONMENT
For the past few days I've been following the search for the missing yacht in the Antarctic. The Norwegian-flagged Berserk ran into trouble a few days back,... Read moreBy Kungfujedi
Explorers Trip Jennings and Andy Maser are preparing to set out on a very important expedition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One that have been in th... Read moreBy Kungfujedi
It is hard to believe, but another Himalayan spring climbing season is already upon us. While it'll be a few weeks before the real work begins on the various... Read moreBy Kungfujedi
The past couple of weeks I've written a few posts about the Elephant Ivory Project, which is an expedition that is going on right now in the Democratic... Read moreBy Kungfujedi
The climbing hasn't exactly begun yet, but the climbers in the Himalaya are on the move. There have been a number of reports indicating that the weather has... Read moreBy Kungfujedi
MOST POPULAR FROM ANIMALS & WILDLIFE
- Lesson 1507 – Attacking what needs to be done by Wendythomas
- Species Introductions Are Accelerating by Garry Rogers
- Top 5 Unique Rainforest Species by Frontiergap
- Invisible plastic particles from textiles and tyres a major source of ocean pollution – IUCN study by Philpickin
MOST RECOMMENDED IN ANIMALS & WILDLIFE
- It must be baby season… by Iratemonkey
- Images of new bleaching on Great Barrier Reef heighten fears of coral death by Garry Rogers
- Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate by Garry Rogers
- Go Green Week 2017: 3 Ways To Go Green by Frontiergap