Field Guide to Animal Tracks from Congo’s Central Forests

Every time an inventory team walks a circuit, the leader returns with well over a hundred photographs.  If there was a lot of animal sign, likely more than 200 pictures come back.   These include photo documentation of every observation: primates, animal tracks and lots of animal dung.  In fact nearly a third of any photo series is likely to be dung.

Ashley has returned to Kinshasa for a week and I got him to lead me through some of the archives.  This week it is animal tracks – next week dung.

Here are some memories from the forest floor:

buffalo print
A buffalo track in a large savanna island in Maniema Province.

elephant tracks
Elephant tracks, a mother and her young, from Province Orientale.

hippo track
Hippo track near the Lomami River.

bonobo track in the mud
A bonobo left its knuckle prints in the mud of the forest floor.

okapi print
An okapi track in the basin of the Tutu River.

An imprint today is erased in rain tomorrow. Our hope is that these prints will continue to be pressed again and again into the forest duff; that is our hope.


  1. michael
    Posted 2008-10-04 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    the hippo is a surprise. In DRC they are almost eliminated.

  2. Ashley Vosper
    Posted 2008-10-04 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Well there are not many hippos. We know of one place for certain and maybe another one or two hidden. Would be nice to have whole lot more really as they are important. No sightings. These hippos are wisely keeping well away from humans. THe question is how will they breed being so low in numbers?

  3. michael
    Posted 2008-10-04 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    ashley,have you seen signs of hippo in salonga too?

  4. Ashley
    Posted 2008-10-04 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    No, never saw any signs of hippo. Some good signs of elephants and buffalo in Salonga but oddly not hippo. I’m not sure if historically there ever were hippos (but I imagine so as the right conditions are there). Actually i just remembered the guys pointing to some tracks and saying they were hippo but I’m not so sure. This was on the Lomela river right on the edge of the park in the northern part.

    Posted 2008-10-05 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I liked the Elephant track with the young one.

  6. kim
    Posted 2008-10-05 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    what about okapis tracks. You should update the post to include those!

  7. rosalie deLacy
    Posted 2008-10-05 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    dear ash comment it is vert interesting but do get well, did the antibiotics work? love mum,and Sean and Tracey at 6,Famet Court. Fancy finding a new brand of monkey ,incredible!!Sean says How is the leg and the rash? Do the best with good water and vegetables! love mum

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