Welcome John Hart
Two of our last posts were from John’s trip in the northern TL2 through the land of the Lengola. And we managed to get his input on earlier posts as well, but John has not had his proper introduction yet. Here it is:
John in teaching mode with two team leaders, Dino and Faustin, on his right….
Of the three of us (Ashley, John and me), John has spent the most years trekking through Congo’s forests. When I first came to the Congo (then Zaire) in 1974 as a Peace Corps volunteer, John was already in the Ituri forest. He had a special post-undergraduate grant to study the ecology of the Mbuti pygmies. The grant was to last one year and cover all travel as well as everything else. It was 6000 dollars. He made it last two and a half years.
A recent photo of John with Mbuti, Pygmy, elders in Epulu village in the Ituri Forest.
We returned to the Ituri together in 1980 for our doctoral research. We came with our first daughter, Sarah, and the second, Rebekah, was born in Epulu.
A snapshot of us in front of the Epulu River in 1983
While I looked at plants, John’s research was on forest antelope and the Mbuti were his guides and assistants. Having finished our graduate degrees we returned to the Ituri for another ten years.
A truly fuzzy snapshot of John putting a radio collar on a duiker in 1983.
Over the last ten years John has worked in the Salonga forest, the forests of Kahuzi-Biega, the forests of Itombwe and now he is with us in the Tshuapa-Lomami-Lualaba (TL2). He has been with international conservation NGOs and he led the CITES program to study the illegal killing of elephants.
Scrutinizing the canopy for primates and birds, binoculars at the ready…
Now – and we are delighted – John will be full time on the TL2 project. As Scientific Director he will hone our forest methods, oversee analysis and follow-through on discoveries. And already the file for the latter is getting thick.