Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Field Journal - Day Five


It’s been an exhausting day, and it’s only Tuesday! The forest here is indeed teeming with life, despite the disturbing amount of hunting that passes for “normal” here.

I’m tempted to stop looking at passing bicycles’ cargo baskets, but cannot.

To see the delicate hands of a female agile mangabey dangling lifeless next to a pile of bananas -- it’s tough. I notice her distended nipples, and wonder how many infants she had or whether she’d had one earlier today at the time she was killed.

We haven’t gotten any chimp poop yet, but countless people have come to tell us of chimp populations and more elephant evidence.

Tomorrow we head out 2 hours from here to verify potential ground nests, which could be a great find, since it ties into the Mega Culture of Northern Congolese chimps.

And we’ve found numerous bembe (snail) smash sites too -- the local here said that chimps rip turtles from their shells to eat them too, and showed me a shell they’d found in the forest, but I’m a bit skeptical. The shell looked a bit too fire-charred for me.

Polycarpe left today on another verification mission quite far from here -- he might be gone two days, but allegedly, there is a LARGE chimp population there!

Best to know for sure!!

Life in the forest feels otherwise peaceful, if not a bit itchy and dirty already.

I’m looking forward to what we’ll find tomorrow!

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