When John and Ashley set up the Losekola study area in March this year, they needed someone to lead the trail cutting teams. Our team-leader, Kahindo, had the experience (see the About Us page). He was called from the forest inventory work; priority was Losekola and the mystery monkeys, Lesula and Ngoyi.
The blond mystery, Lesula, probably a new species.
Before the path system was even finished, John saw Kahindo’s potential.
In a letter he told me: “I showed Kahindo what observations we needed, how to take notes and use the camera. He is catching on fast — good — this first period is critical. Have to make as many contacts with groups of Lesula and Ngoyi as possible.” And: “Who would have thought Kahindo would be into this?” Kahindo has a reputation as the most outspoken and stubborn of team leaders.
Then a series of letters contained: “Kahindo saw Lesula…” We watched Ngoyi…” Kahindo followed Lesula…”
But by June the field season was coming to an end and the priority was again field inventories. Kahindo was pulled out of Losekola and put back at the head of a team.
When he and I went through the photos from that June inventory mission I could see he was more of a naturalist than the others. Not only did he have scores of photos of dung: antelope, elephant, okapi, and buffalo dung. But also scores with rivers: “Why”, he asked, “do some streams run red while others nearby run clear?”
A red stream along Kahindo’s transect, through the forests of the Balanga.
And clearly he had spent a long time studying the carcass of a rotting squirrel whose photo he pointed out as though it were a particular prize.
This is a ready-made anatomy lesson. No further dissection necessary.
These were his passions.
He was more cursory about:
Two hunters from Major Ranger’s family to whom he had given a hard time.
Kahindo did not get a warm welcome in the hunting camp of relatives of Major Ranger, the Maimai we helped to have arrested.
Bushmeat vendors he railed at as they passed carrying their wares towards Kindu. “You are emptying your own forests”, he rebuked the hunters again and again.
A hunter is accosted by Kahindo as he returns from his snare line.
Kahindo is a good team leader, but that is not where his heart is. Kahindo is now back doing what he loves best: getting the details, the minutia of the forest. John trained him to use recording equipment and for the past two weeks he has been on his own, following the probable new primate species, Lesula. He is stalking its call tirelessly, I am certain of it.
Kahindo learning to use the recording equipment in the forest with John Hart.