The rainiest month is upon us and today it rained lightly twice with the sun shining through. The humidity is about 100% today without the rain making for a very uncomfortable environment.
Lots of happenings here at present. A large film crew has been working on a feature film for the last three months. This is the second time this has happened in the area. In 1986 or thereabouts there was another feature film made by a French crew the area featuring the local Bayaka population, this time will undoubtedly be better. The Bayaka are natural actors and are much more at ease in front of the camera.
The disheartening news is another poaching incident in the neighboring research camp which is devoted to Western Lowland Gorilla habituation. It is reported that at least two elephants were killed last week. Poachers were arrested and an arm confiscated but the main culprit who was arrested with the others escaped. He is well known for his elephant poaching activities and has been arrested before. Recidivism is the rule for elephant poachers who are usually well protected by people in powerful places. This worrisome since if the poaching is taking place in proximity to research camps I hate to think what the poaching is like beyond the range of our hearing. As the animals are being compressed into the national park area poaching will undoubtedly increase in the coming years.
Elephants are perceived here as destructive dangerous animals. Here on the ground we have had few negative experiences with elephants. We pay close attention when we happen upon them in the forest to and from the bai and there have been only a handful of times when I felt there was a real danger. On our return home in the evening we often encounter bulls in the river who sometimes contest our presence. Below is an example of what happens when one bull elephant doesn’t wish to give up his mineral spot in the river in the late afternoon. The person in the foreground is Azobe, one of the crack trackers/assistants who is fearless and has assured my safety for many years.