Thursday, November 6, 2008

Notes From My Forest Journal (Entry 7)

Wow! I just collected my first wild chimpanzee dung sample!!

Cleve stayed in the forest later and discovered a great fruiting tree -- full of nests and signs of a continual chimp presence!

He photographed and collected a dung sample for me, too!

I’ve prepared for this day for so long, even though this isn’t one of my primary study groups so I’m only using FTA cards instead of vials.

To be honest, too, despite all my time in the lab I wasn’t quite sure I was using the cards correctly! How much poop did I need to put on them? I’ll have to email Diana to confirm...

But it was a real rush for sure, snapping on my blue latex gloves and examining the sample for whatever it may contain!

Cleve and the trackers had been waiting by the boats for an hour with nothing to entertain them but the jug of freshly made raffia wine we’d boat on the way to the forest, from a man in a tree (!!), so when he got home he was already quite drunk!

I’d imagine he might have been less voracious, pawing through the sample with a stick as he looked for digested ants. I’ll admit though that the excitement was electric!

Adam took video and I thought to myself, Wow, this really is indeed the beginning of it all!

I’m worried about card contamination for this particular trip, because the FTA card bag is worse for the wear and the cards’ bottoms edges are a bit muddy.

Even so, this trip has been so illuminating. I can’t believe I stayed away from the jungle for so long.

We think Barack Obama won the election -- news from some local authorities who came by to hassle us, but we’re not sure.

And I can’t say, sitting here in the wild and soothed by the tranquility, that it isn’t more than just nice not knowing.

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