My best photo of the first bonobo I ever saw — just a couple days ago
Amazingly yesterday evening about 6pm we heard bonobo screaming and chattering across the river as they settled in for the night. It was unreal. So of course this morning very early we crossed the river to search for them. Nothing. But then it got a little lighter and one of them took a piss. We found them. We followed the sound of piss falling through the leaves. Great sound.
Then for about 15 minutes we had sporadic but clear sightings of them. I got a few photos; nothing really exciting. The forest is dark and they are against a light sky which makes it very hard to get a good photo. Good fun though.
My best photo of the second bonobo I ever saw — ok, zoo pictures ARE better
We are now camped in Obenge, the final final village. When we leave here it is at least five days south without a single settlement. And here in Obenge the villagers have not seen a white person since before independence (1960) so you can imagine I caused a lot of interest!! The last white person was looking for diamonds!!! Diamonds are going to be a real problem here.
I have just done a 2 day short trip into the forest. Here are some notes, and a few notes from the short circuits that the other teams made as well. I am now waiting for both teams to come back from their longer 15 day explorations, one team is on each side of the Lomami.
Seen more red tailed monkeys, black mangabey and red colobus.
Red colobus is always on the west bank of the Lomami. The locals say that
is where it is and never on the right bank, or Lualaba side.
Have twice seen a monkey with a blue tail but cannot say much more than that as it always disappears quickly. That is on the east or Lualaba side. A few other people have seen it as well so it is not just me and local drink or a malaria delirium.
Maga and I heard a monkey call in the west forest that neither of us
recognised. Maga knows the monkeys in Salonga really well and did not recognize it at all. The local porter we had with us says they are common in the forest there. He described a distinct mask on its face so maybe it is Dent’s monkey. We obviously need to confirm this as Dent’s is certainly not expected here. Will go on another short trip into that area of forest to see what I can find.
However monkey viewing will not be easy. They are all nervous at the first sound of people because of really heavy hunting around here. Have already seen a pirogue come back with a bushpig in it. All this village does is hunt: no fishing, no domestic animals.
In the east forest there is a huge swamp. Absolutely massive. They say
it goes from this river, Lomami, all the way to the Lualaba. Apparently full of elephants and buffalo. However with the amount of elephant poaching that seems to be going on, these have got to be very threatened. Anyway the swamp looks like an interesting area.
All for now. Need a bath, going to jump in that giant brown water.
Maurice (on left) and his team in the swamp. Read more about the team members here.