Letters from the Field: Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo is a research assistant at Cornell University\'s Elephant Listening Program.
This is the second time she went to the field to study the elephants in the Central African Forest.
Dear family and friends on January 30, 2002: We arrived safely in the forest a few weeks ago.
Our trip here was very tiring and sometimes very difficult as we carried around 34 pieces of luggage, suitcases and cartons, Pelican boxes and luggage bags.
We stayed in Paris for a while and then arrived at the hot and dirty Banki on Sunday morning.
We stayed at one of the hotels there, simple but suitable.
Despite the recent coup failure, the city feels no different than the last one we had two years ago, except for the selection
The truck parked here and there was fitted with something that looked like a rocket launcher.
We only venture to eat at excellent Lebanese and Chinese restaurants near the hotel, register with the US embassy, or go to hardware and grocery stores to buy our supplies.
We rented a truck at Avis in Banki. -
The only one they have-
Find it\'s not big enough to bring everything we have, so we put it with what we think is most important so it\'s close to breaking, leave what we have left at the headquarters of the World Wildlife Foundation, and a few weeks later it was taken out by our colleague Andrea and we live in the camp in the forest.
She was with us in our first week, but then left to attend the elephant conference in Nairobi and will return via Banki in a few weeks.
At 6 in the morning, we left Banki with the Avis driver who knew the road and set foot on the long and dusty road to the forest.
This is a main road in the southwest direction of the city. it is laid in the first section of about 300 miles and then becomes soil.
We had to stop at the different obstacles presided over by armed guards, and depending on their whim they would charge us a different amount.
We were huddled together like sardines, Katie, Eric, Mia and I, sitting in the Pelican box with backpacks on our legs.
In the hot weather, the windows we opened were covered with a layer of dust covering us and all our belongings.
After a while, we did not pass by other cars except for the huge logging truck, which hit us at such an amazing speed in the middle of the road, so much so that we had to drop our car off the road to escape their path.
The dust cloud they left behind when they woke up made them unable to see the road ahead, but our brave driver bravely moved on.
The smell along the way reminds me of my last time-
Smoke, burning wood, rotten meat, rotten smell, and lasting smell of the sweetness of flowering trees.
There are stalls in the villages built along this road, selling things-
Cigarettes, manioc, soda.
When we drove by, people sat up and looked at us with great interest ---
A car is an unusual thing.
The closer we get to Dzanga, the more py Gami villages we start to see, where there are familiar domes, like a cottage built by leaves.
The children waved to us excitedly.
Finally, we arrived at Dzanga National Park and came to Andrea\'s gate, we opened the gate and then came to her camp along a 14-kilometer journey.
At about 6: 00, the Twilight is falling rapidly.
We had a pleasant reunion with Andrea and the four bacagemi people, three of whom we met two years ago, who had dinner and collapsed in bed.
Her camp is more wonderful than ever.
She built a beautiful new cabin for herself and gave Katie her old one.
So only Mya and I were sharing our old cabin.
Room structure made of wood, made of concrete, thatched roof.
We have a simple foam mattress that is surrounded by mosquito nets on a wooden platform.
Eric didn\'t have a cabin and he slept in a very big tent ELP bought him (
But since weaver ant invasion and termite invasion are already difficult, we may have to prepare something different for him).
And there\'s the cabin we call magasin, where Eric does all his engineering work, where all our food is placed.
Of course, there is no wall in the kitchen, but a stove, and we cook with a fire of wood cut by pygmy people.
Then there are two Bath stalls, and the pygmy people bring us a bucket of hot water every night, then come back from the camp and return to the Outer House (
We use French \"cabinets \").
It\'s a bit scary to get back there at night, where there are some creatures that look weird, a whip scorpion and many cave crickets, to be precise, not to mention the mammals that will collapse when you approach, so I have to say that I will not risk going there after dark. (
Even Andrea said she wouldn\'t, so I don\'t think she\'s that weak at all. .
All of these structures surround the central structure, an open thatched house --
Concrete platform with roof top, living area or living area and dining area.
Below this main camp is the residence of BaAka, similar in size and structure to our own.
A four-person group lives with Andrea for three weeks at a time and then rotates with another four-person group so they can return to their family for the time being.
Now we have MBanda, Melebu, Zo and matotrs.
This time, we are working hard to learn to say a few BaAka words so that we can communicate better with them.
At the moment, we are lucky to have Louis Sano staying with us.
He is a man from New Jersey who moved here in his 80 s and lives in BaAka to record their music.
Andrea was helping translate while he was away.
He has countless stories to tell and is a great partner.
He promised that if we had time to stay here until the end, he would take us to the forest hunting with BaAka for a few days.
Our first full day here, we walked 2 kilometers to white with anticipation.
This time we came here in the dry season, not as wet as in 2000, and I started looking for the difference.
It has not rained since the beginning of December.
The swamp is still high as it is fed by streams and still has traces of regular and recent visits by elephants.
Their huge footprints are still seen everywhere in the mud, and their feces soften our access to the water\'s edge.
Hundreds of white and yellow butterflies still gather on the beach where they urinate.
However, the seeds I remember are not universal and I like to collect and discharge from elephants;
Now is not the season of results.
Then we went into the forest, where the drying was more obvious.
The leaves on the road are dry and dung --
Colored, crunching under your feet.
However, it was a season of flowering, and in different places on the trail, the flowery flowers hit us.
As we approached White, we were also aware of a buzz of massive growth, and I realized that it was thousands of bees who appreciated the flowering trees on the canopy.
Then all of a sudden, we were there, on the platform, climbing up the stairs, looking at dozens of elephants, looking at the salt water (80 in all)
, Arrange around us, sip from the hole, wash the mud bath, and move lazily from area to area.
White elephants, red elephants, gray elephants, yellow elephants, because they are bathed in mud in different shades, they are all painted in different colors.
There, looking at that incredible sight, accepting the particularity of the place and everything it offers, and briefly looking back at all the hard work, the months of planning and preparation made to get here, long trips, in order to launch a major technical research expedition in the African rainforest, to figure out the millions of details seems totally worth it to me.
There is really no place like Dzanga bai on Earth to see the life of the endangered forest elephant healthy group.
We are very honored.
We started the work right away, filling the batteries with acid, transporting them to white, opening up our gear, installing solar panels, and building Eric\'s store.
Autonomous recording unit (ARUs)for deployment--
This will continue to record the sound of our elephants here for three months.
We\'ll plant eight of them in an array around white, but it\'s a tricky job because you have to work around elephants, which is of course very dangerous.
By the time I wrote this, we had planted seven of them and planned to deploy the last one today.
So far, things have gone quite well, we started collecting data on the platform every day, recording the number of elephants every half hour, the number of women every hour, adults and deputy
Adult male, adolescent, infant, newborn.
Of course, whether any male is in the muscles or not, as in the dry season, most men enter the muscles, which is the state of testosterone elevation they are looking for women in estrus.
With Andrea\'s help, we were able to identify hundreds of elephants and map out the relationship between them.
This will enable us to better discern the purpose of certain types of calls, as there will usually be family members separated, for example, to make phone calls and then to reunite.
Andrea was able to see an elephant being summoned and said it was elodi 1, who was calling her newborn calf ---
And the little calf ilodi 2, 50 metres away, ran to her in response to her call.
We had the most exciting day just two days ago.
We were lucky to observe that a male was found in the muscles and mated with a estrus female, and the resulting mating disorder was not the same as any of us had ever seen.
When the Bulls first mounted the female elephant, many elephants became visibly excited, hovering around them, rumbling, blowing, spinning, defecating and urinating.
The sound lasted for nearly nine minutes.
We captured it all on high quality recording devices on the platform.
This is an incredible scene.
Elephants keep coming up, smelling the ground where they mate, tasting their liquid, and keep rumbling.
We sat in the camp that night, listened to what we recorded, were surprised by the number of voices we could hear, and felt like we actually recorded--Experience rich-
Something special.
It would be fascinating to see the second call that is also being made in the end, which is below the level of hearing that we discovered 20 years ago by Katie that the elephant was making.
Elephants have a distinct difference from the last time we were here, that is how timid they are.
This may be due to an increase in poaching.
More immigrants from the Savannah moved to take advantage of the logging industry. -
This seems to be booming--
Since our last visit here, the area of the nearby town of Bayanga has doubled.
There are more big guns in the area, demand for jungle meat-and for ivory--has increased.
WWF has dispatched guards stationed near our camp to patrol regularly, but we still hear gunfire every few days or so, mostly from our camp, not far from the forest.
If we or tourists make any noise or interference, white elephants are more likely to peddle, and when they flee, they go deep into the forest and don\'t return to White as quickly as last time.
Or when the wind moves, they will smell us on the platform, which will also let them go.
So we try to be as careful as possible, as quiet as possible, on the path through the forest, on the platform.
Any extra pressure on them has become our biggest concern.
It may have impressed me more than last time, how rich the place sounds.
For me, this is such a charming side of the rainforest.
In the evening, I lay in bed, listening to the sounds of the elephants gathered in the swamp under our camp;
Their roar and screaming seemed to be magnified by the water;
It sounds like they are right outside our cabin.
An African wooden owl is nearby.
The crickets and cicadas kept shouting all night, and the trees made louder and more repetitive noises.
Interestingly, the loudest sound seems to be the elephant and the elephant, because the elephant is the closest land relative of the elephant.
It is a small mammal that looks a bit like a groundhog.
About three in the morning one night. m.
I heard the chimpanzees in the distance growling.
In the morning, we heard the loud whistle and screams of the African gray parrot flying from the cock head.
I wonder if these are the hundreds of people who gather in the Bai every morning, they rise and fall in droves in the open space, their tail feathers flashing red.
We hear it every morning.
The wooden pigeon on the head, its vibrato sounds very like ping-
The table tennis bounces forward and then stops.
We heard hardaise singing like a crow.
Often there are a lot of monkeys making their voice in the trees around the camp, and we watch them swing from one branch to another, sometimes making huge jumps. White-
The monkeys will come to see us too.
In the swamp, when we go to the beluga, hundreds of little frogs make a sound of inginging, just like a tight rubber band is pulled out, A shrill laugh in black and white.
In the forest, in addition to the cicadas everywhere, there is a quiet silence.
Occasionally white-
The Phoenix hornbills fly over their heads, and the heavy beating of their wings sounds like they were in prehistoric times, just as you can look up and see there is a pterosaur there.
The bright purple and yellow butterflies fly around on our road.
We often scare a liar and it runs out of the bush.
Sometimes, if you listen carefully, you will hear the drumming of termite. -
It sounds like the salt shakes on the leaves.
Their mound is everywhere in the forest.
Soon after we came here, we caught a glimpse of a gorilla, but we heard it clearly.
One day when I was driving into town with Andrea to buy some supplies, we got a fright along her car and it burst into the thick bushes on the side of the road.
It yelled at us when we passed.
Occasionally, we can hear the gorilla\'s chest.
Beating in the distance.
I will use the high quality recording equipment we bring to record sound at different times of the day, so hopefully we will eventually be able to make some cd for those who like it.
The heat here is very high and seems to be increasing all the time.
During the day, we can see from the thermometer on the platform that there are 88 degrees in the shade and about 92 degrees in the sun.
Humidity is a killer, about 99%.
Today we go swimming in the swamp, and pymy crocodiles and poisonous water snakes are cursed.
This is the only way to really cool down.
Finally, for my lab colleagues and other friends who are interested in the birds I see or hear here, I am sure this is an incomplete list: see: African Osprey
Tree-lined Kingfisher (my favorite)
Maribou storkHadeda ibisGray heronBlack-
Darren Black-and-
White corner White-
Only hear: African wood owlBlue-
Headed wood doveLots of different kinds of barbetsI have been thinking about it for a while, but we \'ve been busy arranging things and I didn\'t really have time to sit down and write a long note until today.
When night falls, we are so tired that we hardly have enough energy to make dinner, have dinner, then go to bed, protect our net and read by candlelight (
I brought war and peace, which should last for a long time)
Before we fall asleep, from time to time, the elephants are woken up by the trees around the camp.
So please forgive the silence for a long time.
I will write it soon.
I extend my warm greetings to you. --
MelissaFebruary Month 2002 today I am on a day off, so the second letter I finally addressed to my friends and family.
It was only my third Freedom Day in the seven weeks since we left home, however, when others left this morning to do a hard day of work, I couldn\'t help feeling guilty.
It is still quiet and the most important thing is that it is very hot.
It\'s hotter than in the White City, where there\'s a breeze at least from time to time.
The humidity must be around 92, and the humidity is quite large.
I was conquered by the numbness of a plant, a fatigue caused by heat.
A few feet away, a 5 inch-long pink and gray Agama lizard stopped for a while in a wild sprint from one tree to the other, and its head was violently overlooking the landscape
From time to time I heard a West African Osprey cry as the camp headed towards the swamp;
It sounds a bit like a seagull.
At noon, the BaAka gm Gami people are banging their daily food manioc.
Intelligence is often the lowest, barbets sing from time to time.
It\'s quiet, but I can\'t help but wonder what\'s going on in the White House.
What elephants are there today?
Is Elvera with her two children?
Is Hilton still in Mars? Still guarding a new woman?
Did the old left show up and intimidate all the other men?
You really understand the characters, and if you can keep them complete, it\'s like a soap opera every day.
It\'s kind of like reading War and Peace.
At other times, when I looked at them, I remembered one of my favorite children\'s books, where was Wallace, about an orangutan, you have to find it in the sea of characters on each page.
There are dozens of small comic episodes in each photo, someone chasing here, someone digging a hole there, someone swimming here.
No matter where you look, there is a story at work.
But even in the camp here, there\'s a lot to see.
There are a lot of monkeys, rocking around the camp, boldly launching from one branch to the other three floors.
Around me, crowds of filaria flies, hoping to bite me secretly.
I must always be vigilant in order to repel them.
At my feet, a row of mapekpe ants (
This is their pygmy term, pronounced mah-peck-pay).
They are big and dark, so avoid eating when you bite.
On the roof of the open-air thatched house, the giant wolf spider moved heavily.
Sometimes you can hear them playing drums there at night.
A weaver ant suddenly appeared on my shoulder and I dumped it.
A cigar-sized sparkling chocolate brown foot worm glides on the way to my cabin.
Today, I followed a large scarab into my cabin, waiting for it to land, and put it in a small, transparent plastic box so I could double check it.
It sparkles like a gem and its body is beautiful glowing green, almost transparent with bright blue wings.
I was afraid it would hurt myself by hitting the plastic and I soon let it loose.
When I was making lunch, there were dozens of bees hovering around me in the kitchen.
I have thought of it countless times as the most inhabited place I have ever lived.
Every inch is occupied by some creatures.
Like the movie \"10 times the micro-universe\"
The number of a particular species was really taken home about a week ago ---literally.
One night, when we were ready to go to bed after a long meeting, Andrea found that droves of ant drivers gathered in her hut, around her steps and cement blocks, clearly intended to enter and take over.
When thousands of ants ---
I ate it a few times and it was very painful. -
Take over a space to find food;
They are in hunting mode.
Some people wake up and find themselves covered by these things that eat through their net of beds and then gather on them.
Andrea certainly wasn\'t happy about it, and we watched her rush to fill a huge kettle with kerosene, dousing out many ants and turning around her house with it.
Kerosene is the only thing that can stop them.
That night she decided not to sleep there and made a bed for herself in the central paillote of the camp below.
Our skin crawled, and Mya and I went to the cabin about 40 feet metres from Andrea\'s house and were horrified to realize that the wave of ants was extending to our house, about 3 feet metres from our house.
There were thousands of people, winding around a corner of our cottage, getting closer and closer.
We hurried to get the kerosene and used it to soak the boundaries of our concrete floor right at the critical moment of time.
We have been watching them for the next 45 minutes or so.
Temporary confusion and disorientation, the whirlpool of the ants turned back on their path and ran around the circle, so in such a hurry.
Finally, they made a concerted effort towards the forest.
Mya and I shudder to think about how things would go if we didn\'t have a meeting, so we went to bed earlier and didn\'t realize the development of this huge army. Yikes.
I recently saw some wonderful bird flashes in the white and around-
One morning, as we walked into the end of the open space, two giant Maribo fish looked like an old man standing by the swimming pool in a funky dress. Red-
One day, the pigeons in the eyes were mixed with African gray parrots. White-
The Thro-moving bee eater swooped over the white tiger and returned to a nearby tree.
A beautiful turquoise and black woodland kingfisher, I found its favorite habitat Wood.
A lady-looking cow, egret. in-
Wait until they follow the buffalo.
Excellent rainbow-colored Sunbird--
African fellow hummingbird-
Chatter through our platform.
Hartlaub\'s Ducks flew and landed by the Creek passing through the White River;
Their light blue shoulders caught my eye.
A large Crown Pearl chicken caught a glimpse from a tree on the way to White.
For animals, we see sitatunga in the clear Everglades every day --
Live antelope.
They usually travel in the form of two or three family groups.
One day, I walked alone from the camp to white and managed to climb up a female sitatunga in the swamp near the camp, only scaring her when I was about 10 feet away.
There are usually forest buffaloes in the open space, and seven handsome and robust animals form the same group, lying in the White buffalo group, sleeping and meditating, they only get up when some nasty elephants decide to block their way.
On one occasion Andrea saw a buffalo under white production and when challenged by an elephant, it did not get up.
The buffalo was bitten to death by an elephant, and as she lay dying there, another Buffalo gathered around her, struggling to lift her up.
Also, in white, we sometimes see the largest forest antelope Bongo.
They are very beautiful animals, maroon-colored, white bands around their bodies.
Their legs are black and white, and the male has huge ivory. tipped horns.
Their big ears kept turning.
When they walk into the Bai, they are always a pleasure, usually a group of seven or eight people.
We also see monkeys.
One day, when we arrived, we found a team of about 30 people who walked around the White River for the next few hours, venturing out of the edge of the forest along the ground, sit next to a pile of elephant feces and sift through them for seed consumption.
We can also see black and white monkeys going back and forth in the trees. And pigs --
There is a huge forest PIG. it is big and black.
One day, we saw a group of people like this from the forest, about 14.
They snuggled together briefly and left.
Although my favorite is the Red River pig (
Also known as jungle pig)
This is the first time we saw it the other day.
It is the most whimsical creature, really red with white eye rings and long Taser ears.
There is at least one civet around the camp.
One night at dinner, we heard the cry of a estrus female civet in the forest, and a few days later, Katie found footprints in the soil near the camp.
One morning, we found gorillas in the swamp.
No trace of the leopard has been seen yet, although about a week before our arrival someone saw one near the camp.
One day, we met an elephant on our way home.
Only me and Mya with two BaAka trackers
All of a sudden, we heard a big movement in the tree next to the trail, and the tracker in front stopped to listen.
We all did the same thing, and then right in front of us, we heard the grunt from the same area.
One tracker said it was a forest pig, while the other had been whispering, saying it was an elephant (
Later he told us that the purer was a little elephant. .
Suddenly, through the trees, we can see the gray shape of the elephant.
A young woman.
We decided not to run in another direction, but to catch up as quickly and quietly as possible.
Andrea often tells us that women are more dangerous, especially when there are future generations.
Another day, we met the elephants in the swamp on our way home and we had to detour home.
And then forever-
There are more and more signs of humanity.
One morning, when we quickly passed through the forest in order to get to Baishan in time for counting and composition (
Where we named the class and gender. g.
The \"girl\" of every elephant present \")
I realized that there was a low drone that went through the usual forest.
I asked pygmy tracker what it was and he named the local sawmill.
Between the greedy expansion of the sawmill and the poachers who are increasingly plundering elephants and their habitats, I feel that this place is slowly slipping away and I am afraid.
Such a place can never be taken back or rebuilt.
When it disappears, it will disappear forever.
Every day there are pieces of it.
There was some poaching last week and for a few days we heard some gunfire from the camp and the white elephant and all the elephants were frightened.
In the morning, when we arrived, the white elephants were empty, and when the elephants appeared, they would hesitate to enter, turn to this side, stand still, and when they listened intently, their ears are raised, and their trunks smell the air.
We learned later that some ivory had been confiscated even though the hunter had not been caught.
The park is trying to investigate the bodies of all the elephants in the past year or so. they only found 13 fresh bodies after sampling a small part of the park.
Poaching is increasing here and in the nearby Congo.
This is the sobering reality of this place.
Andrea\'s presence here is becoming more and more important.
Happily, when the elephants we were familiar with two years ago entered the White Elephant, some of my favorite moments happened.
There have been a lot so far, but the most exciting thing is to see Penny and her mother Penelope 2.
Two years ago, we spent quite a bit of time observing the mother and the baby.
In fact, when we first met her, Penny was a newborn and her navel was clear.
As Andrea told us at the time, Penelope 2 became a mother for the first time and seemed uncertain and inexperienced.
When another adult woman tried to \"kidnap\" Penny when she was only two days old, we looked fascinated.
We also observed several times how Penny left her mother several times when weeks passed and suddenly realized that she was far away from her mother and screamed bitterly.
Penelope 2 always responds to her and runs to her.
I think some people in the lab have seen some of our video clips.
One day last week, another beautiful day in White City is coming to an end.
All the elephants of different colors walk under the golden afternoon lights.
Out of the forest across from Mirador, about 300 metres away, a mother and her two childrenyear-
The old baby calf entered White.
Andrea shouted to us, \"it\'s Penelope 2 and Penny!
\"We were ecstatic to see Penny grow so small and see how healthy she and her mother looked.
You know, at least some of these elephants have been safe in the past two years.
We have some visitors in the past month.
Chris Clark, our program director at Cornell University (
Bioacoustic research project of aviology Laboratory)
It\'s been three weeks with us.
He has always been a brave and indomitable member of the team, flashing on the tree every day, trying to keep the recording unit away from spoilers.
Yes, the elephant has been destroying our equipment.
Almost all of our units were taken apart, disassembled, and disassembled by tus teeth because we didn\'t initially put them out of reach of the elephant.
So we are now trying to turn them all into trees.
Py grime is also an expert in climbing trees and is indispensable.
But trying to keep a considerable number of units running at the same time is an ongoing struggle, due to elephant problems, and also because of the truck battery that needs to be powered for the equipment to be replaced.
It is tricky to go to the unit, because when there are many elephants on the empty ground and they go through the forest all the time, it may be dangerous, so these trips must be carefully planned.
A staff member of the National Public Radio also visited us last week.
Alex Chadwick, his wife Caroline and their audio engineer Bill ventured here to make a clip for the radio expedition, a monthly program for NPR and hosted by National Geographic magazine.
They interviewed Katie, Andrea and Chris and also recorded elephants on the platform with us.
We really enjoyed being with them.
Last night, they spent a little time in White City, preparing for the full moon, recording because the night outside was particularly loud and the elephants rumbled and screamed.
We will do the same at least once on this trip.
You won\'t be worth anything the next day, but it was a spectacular experience.
I think they were also happy with the storm they caught on the tape the other night.
Two nights ago, we had an incredible thunderstorm here.
The following day was particularly hot, humid and depressing, and we drove to Bayanga town for dinner with NPR\'s staff and Lisa and Nigel.
When we drove back that night, before we set off again
As we walk into the forest, we can see almost continuous lightning in the distance.
When we got home and lay in bed, at about 11, the wind started and we could hear the long thunder coming from a distance, getting closer and closer.
The wind passed through the forest in the great gust, beating the trees violently.
The temperature suddenly dropped by about ten degrees, and our thatched roof began to have a huge drop.
Soon it turned into a downpour, the thunder cracked and rolled straight to us.
Sometimes between the Thunder, we can hear the screams of elephants in the distance.
Ray scared them).
About half an hour later, the Thunder sounded and the rain began to get lighter, which made us sleepy.
Katie had her birthday a few weeks ago, and that day we planned a surprise trip for her and Chris to the World Wide Fund research camp white crane, about an hour\'s drive, near the Congo border, researchers have become accustomed to a gorilla family.
Katie and Chris spent hours in the Forest watching the family, a man and a woman, and their babies.
Katie\'s face was covered with hundreds of sweat bees, but then she bathed in the waterfall and came back excitedly from the experience.
Eric, Mya and I would also like to be there one day, though I have to admit that I am afraid of sweat being part of it.
Sweat bees seem to like me very much and they have always been part of our wild season this year.
It turns out that they are richer in the dry season and without them we really only have a day or two.
They\'re little thorns.
Less bees like the salt in the sweat, they gather on your arms and legs, especially the diving bombing that dives directly into your eyes.
They also like to suggest that they enter the peak of my widow, and I keep pulling them out of my hair.
I squashed them with a little satisfaction.
At the end of the day, our eyes were blocked by sweat bees, and we enjoyed the idea of diving into the swamp and washing it all away.
All kinds of other insects also had a good meal on my meat;
I don\'t like it every day. -
And often without knowledge. -
Master of all kinds of biting creatures.
Their marks are especially known in the middle of the night.
I have a bite at the bottom of my foot, a bite on my eyelids, and a bite between my fingers.
But I\'m strong on top of that.
I extend my love and best wishes to everyone.
I\'m going to sneak into my net bed now, just like a young lion we saw in White slipped into the small opening of a hollow tree near our observation platform, hope to sleep as well as I thought.
MelissaMarch 21 2002 Hello dear family and friends: Greetings Dzanga it\'s hot and humid.
The rainy season usually doesn\'t come until some time in April, but now it looks like it\'s really here.
The first heavy rain occurred 10 days ago.
Of course, this is the first day I left my raincoat behind.
We walked home at about 5. m.
From the white man and the wind through the forest.
The dark clouds quickly moved above their heads, and suddenly the sky gave off a huge thunder.
I threw my precious camera equipment into Andrea\'s dry bag but still had an unprotected backpack full of other stuff so I ran to get it, the rain clapped my eyes. The path almost immediately became a rushing river.
I galloped through the swamp and climbed up the hill to the camp in Andrea.
The chocolate brown waterfall poured out of the slope.
When we returned to the camp, we found that we needed to dig trenches around Eric\'s tent because the water was in danger of flooding.
Then, about an hour after the start, the storm suddenly stopped and the sky was clear.
The rainfall in Andrea shows 50mm of the rain.
Since then, it will rain every few days, accompanied by a huge storm of Thunder.
I love all the rain, though it seems like a new army of insects will be created every time.
With the exception of new proportions of bug bites appearing on my body\'s surface every day, almost every place in my body has a prickly sub-rash ---
On my wrist, under my arm, in my elbow, around my knees, and even on my eyelids.
Last time I was here-
Although to a lesser degree, perhaps because of my short stay at the time-
So I know it\'s not uncommon for my sensitive skin to have this reaction.
Very itchy and unpleasant.
The other day, I was frustrated to find signs of chiggers or sandfleas at the bottom of my foot: a raised healing tissue --
Like a dark spot in the center.
Eric, our engineer, has encountered this situation as well, so I know it.
I had Bonda, a py-meter man, do the necessary surgery, and Bonda is an expert in the extraction of jigging chickens;
He grinded a stick and then cleverly dug out the egg bag gently from my sole;
He then burned the sticky white ooze in the flame.
The most important thing is to get them back before they hatch into your skin, as this is obviously an unbearable itch.
Not the most enjoyable experience.
Data collection is progressing smoothly.
Our own recordings around the White River are good.
Just yesterday, Eric and I took two pygmy trackers with us to check the battery around bai and investigate.
This is the first time I have seen the entire perimeter of the white elephant, just like in the background of the forest, elephants appear behind the scenes every day.
This is an extraordinary experience.
We walked through idyllic open spaces with streams and small waterfalls, winding through dense vegetation, through the skull of a young poached male elephant, through multiple Elephant Trails
At any time, I am looking forward to face-to-face with a frightened female parent and her family, but we have not been challenged in the entire Bai area.
Once we stopped at a Copal, a tree with a lot of hard crystals --
Just like the sap that py grime cut off with a machete;
Because sap burns well, they use the sap block as a small torch.
Finally, we were very pleased to see that none of the units had been tampered with by elephants, and because of Chris Clark\'s hard work they did not arrive safely.
The wildlife here continues to surprise me.
One morning, on the way to White, before the rest of the group, I scared a pygmy crocodile on the edge of the swamp.
He was about 4 feet long, he glided wildly during the visit, and thankfully he was as eager to escape as I was.
Another day, we met about 10 Bongo, which we could hardly see in the dense forest.
The fly cloud that followed suddenly surrounded us and followed us in groups for a while.
Sometimes, when I find that more and more people like these lonely trips, I will time it so that I can go to White alone.
I have more amazing opportunities for wildlife, and in order to look for this animal, I find that I am half scared and half excited when I quietly cross the swamp and then through the forest (
\"Lion, tiger and bear\" became \"snake, leopard, huge forest pig and elephant\" in my mind \").
Sometimes I see duiker or sitatunga running away.
Usually only the smaller inhabitants of me and sensei: brightly colored butterflies, temporarily matched with my path, flew in front of me for a while before they left;
The driver ant dispersed on a yard by yard trail, and I had to run in a crazy jumping House;
Other ants, who have built elevated trails or tunnels, split the trails in two;
Dragonflies and other fast-moving insects whizzing past me on their way to the obvious emergency;
Termite throngs, beating the beat on the leaves by the trail.
For my love bird friend, I have seen or heard some birds recently: Every morning we hear the lamentation of chocolate --
Support Kingfisher.
And the red one-
We \'ve also never seen chest cuckoo, but we hear it from anywhere every day.
It has a very repetitive \"It-will-
Rain, \"If I\'m not in a good mood, it makes me feel like I\'m crazy.
Recently, I have been watching The Swallows of the mosque fly around on the white and yellow wagging tails, jumping on the edge of the swamp between the White and the sand piper.
The bird I most like to see recently is the common sni, a beautiful bird that often comes, fishing in the pool in front of our platform.
I saw a Franklin in the forest on my way to white today.
One night, when we walked home from white, we heard the call of a big blue radish;
It\'s high on top of a tree and we barely see it, but I remember how beautiful it was when we saw a pair in White two years ago.
Last Saturday night we were going to the Bayanga town of Nigel\'s home.
He\'s a British man.
Poaching for WWF in Dzanga is also a very close friend of Andrea.
He told us a few weeks ago that he had one.
Together with foreigners.
We drove 15 kilometers with Andrea in her truck and came to Bayanga and met a group of young smart people from different countries.
I can\'t decide who to listen to because they all seem equally charming.
An Italian couple Andrea and Marta from Rome studied the use of jungle meat and the medicinal use of rainforest plants, respectively.
Bruno, a Belgian, grew up in Zairian and worked for the World Health Organization in the Congo to establish isolation units for Ebola victims.
Chloe is an energetic and charming young Italian woman who has raised a group of gorillas in the nearby WWF research camp, her fiancé, David Greer, is preparing for the gorilla family in another camp.
There are also a number of researchers from the veterinary and Wildlife Conservation Association in Boma, Congo, who are also working on and condemning gorillas;
Earlier that day, they set out from a camp and came to Dzanga.
And Lisa, an American, is in charge of the WWF Park.
We had dinner, drank a lot of wine, and then danced like Devesh until the early hours of the morning, Mya and I made the cd with the music on the hard drive.
Our journey home was interrupted by a fallen tree;
Andrea took her machete out and cut it off until we could move it to one side.
We heard that the trees were falling all the time, and some were much closer than others.
That night, while Mya and I were reading on our net, we heard a loud noise.
We thought maybe one of the BaAka got up late and did some work, maybe a hammer or something.
But it doesn\'t seem to make sense, and when I walk outside I find that there is no light under their camp.
The cracks continue every few minutes, and we are completely confused until a huge tree falls in a nearby forest with a loud thunderous sound, which is all clear.
At the beginning, those loud voices cracked the tree before giving way.
Usually, we just hear the roar of the forest collapse, then the bang of a fallen tree, but since that tree is close to us, we can hear it die
Now Luis Sano is living with us again because he is using Andrea\'s computer to make some changes to the book he has just finished.
He brought us a great gift, a hive found in a tree by an eight-woman in his village.
After dinner, he opened a package for the first night here, with a glittering brown honeycomb lying inside, just sweaty honey.
We rip off the small pieces and put them in our mouths and chew the honey out of our mouths.
Although you can\'t eat too much, it is very delicious because it is very rich.
However, from our monotonous eating habits, this is a delicious change.
Interestingly, how much time did we spend here talking about food and fantasizing about what we would eat if we could.
About what we will rush into our mouths as soon as we get home.
This is a common topic.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are our greatest wishes.
This is one thing I look forward to very much.
I found out I saw we were leaving. -
Two weeks later--
Fear and excitement are equal.
I am excited to see family and friends, once again declaring the material enjoyment that we Americans are so accustomed to, and the fear of leaving a place that is so important to me ---
Part of the reason is that life here is so mysterious to me.
I remember how I felt last time I came home, hiking again in the forest in the northeast of the United States.
After here, I feel that there is to some extent sterile, and the woods at home only retain a small part of these mysteries and lives here.
This time, however, I comfort myself that I am going home (
It\'s new to me. 2001)
The country is surrounded by dense forests and wildlife.
Just a few days ago, my friend Harold wrote to me, \"one night two days ago, we were visited by a bear, leave some impressive claw marks on the remains of the feeder, and there is also a pile of equally impressive scat in the yard.
\"I knew there was a bear outside my front door, which made me feel like I was back in a place with my own mystery and wildness.
Thinking of coming back in time, watching the Spring unfold in such a beautiful place, seeing all kinds of birds coming to my feeder in the woods makes me more eager to return.
I tried to write it again before I got home.
We are planning to visit the gorilla research camp tomorrow and I am sure there will be a story to tell.
We also plan to spend the full moon night in White City, and I know it\'s also an experience.
My love and best wishes to all of you, 2002 dear friends and family: we are only a few days away from leaving, but I would like to write another letter about our last weeks here.
About 10 days ago, we passed a rough dirt road from here, about an hour\'s drive to the white estuary of the WWF research camp, this will take you less than 4 kilometers from the Congo border.
There, the researchers, Chloe, are used to the families of gorillas.
Because only the two of us were allowed to go out with her to track down the gorilla, and with Katie already gone, Eric, Mia and I drew straws and Eric and I were lucky.
At about 12: 30, we left with Chloe and two pygmy trackers, looking for family, walked into the forest a few kilometers ago, and arrived where they left a few hours ago.
As we walked, they rolled their tongue along the roof of their mouth, making a giggle.
This is the official voice they have set up with gorillas to let them know that people are approaching the people they are \"used.
\"I was excited to keep peeping through the thick trees and bushes, hoping to see their first sight.
We bent over the twisted, spiny vines and walked along a path that seemed promising, according to the occasional agreement on the track.
I looked at what they were looking.
We saw the fruit falling from the tree and they could even know it was just eaten in half an hour.
As ants still flock to capture the remains, some of the termite hills show fresh gains.
Even the leaves that go through some way show the path that the gorilla has gone through.
Sometimes Chloe would squat down with the tracker and they would check one of the evidence and then they would go through another bush and we would follow.
The weather was very hot that day, and sweat flowed down from us.
Let\'s go. I finally started to lose hope of finding my family.
They seemed to be everywhere just before we got there.
Once we could smell the silver back very strongly.
He had a special smell, filled with his musk smell in the air.
As we walked, the tracker began to tear down the leaves from the branches.
When I asked this later, Chloe said they did it to say to the gorilla, don\'t worry, we\'re not here to bother you, we\'re just here to eat, like you
Alas, we missed them again, and we went on, looking in one direction, and then in another.
When the lights came down, we headed home and drove into the camp.
We found traces of silver back knuckles in the soil.
I bent down and compared mine to his. his boxing gloves are very big.
We were happy to know how close they were, but it was already 5: 30 and we had to go back to the camp.
All in all, we walked for five hours in that huge forest without stopping, looking for that elusive family, never finding them.
It is disappointing not to see their meat, but it is exciting to learn how gorillas are being tracked and to explore a rainforest that has spilled into Congo.
When we returned to the camp, more tired than we thought, we were led to a beautiful waterfall, and I was very pleased to stand under its hard water flow.
Recently, when Mya and I walked to the White River, I saw an exciting sight: I started to hear the front and determined that the sound was on the tree, not on the ground--
So it\'s not an elephant--
I rushed forward, eager to see what I must be a monkey.
I met a huge bird that flew along the path in front of me, a huge black --
It is a dark brown eagle with gray bands on its wings.
It is a Crown eagle with a wing span of about 6 feet, with monkeys as its prey.
I can\'t believe it can fly over the forest without hitting a branch. it\'s so huge.
I wonder if it\'s chasing prey.
It feels very lucky to see it because it is not common in the forest.
The night before last week\'s full moon, Mya and I spent the night at the White House.
We spent as many nights there as possible.
As our recording unit captures sound 24 hours a day, our team realizes that we should try to get night coverage in a week or so, when we can calculate it by the light of the full moon.
We had a foam mattress, a net and some food, and we sat there watching the evening fall and the elephants continued to gather together.
As night falls, more than 70 elephants hover around the white elephant, moving slowly and deliberately from pool or pit to pool or pit.
The cries of frogs and crickets began.
Suddenly, the moon, an inflated golden ball, rises from the tree opposite our Mirador.
Even one night, we can clearly see the outline of the elephant, especially on the path of the moon\'s light.
We can see a female elephant sticking out back with her nose as she passes through the path, gently checking that her baby is by her side.
We can see the family walking in one document, moving calmly from one end of the white to the other.
And the sound. -
On the night there, the sound stood out in such a sharp relief as you could not see the waiter\'s behavior.
The shape of the sound appears.
Low-level, constant rumbling, mothers calling on their children, and the rising and falling screams of teenagers.
Sounds like the rumble of the outboard motor.
A character keeps making disturbing sounds similar to hiccups (
Appeared in all the high quality recordings we made that night).
When the elephant dug the muddy pit, the water was discharged through the trunk ---
Like the sound of water blown out of snorkeling, when they dig the trunk deep into these pits, it makes a bubbling sound.
I began to notice something like phosphor light in the deep-dug pool of elephants, as the ripples of their trunks working in the water suddenly sparkled, and then I realized that water caught the moonlight.
Fireflies are full of their own little green lights.
As we sat on the railing of Mirador, the bats began to call us, and as they passed by my head I had to let myself not back down.
As the night goes on, we can identify the shape of other animals.
A group of about 15 giant forest pigs snuggle together in a pile of feces from the beluga, and when the elephant\'s path deviates, they leave the elephant in a hurry.
An otter appeared in front of Mirador and we watched it wander through the pool.
At about midnight, Mya and I gave up the hourly calculation (
We counted 144 elephants at the top of the mountain! )
Lying tired on the mattress.
Our sleep was intermittent and punctured by the screams of elephants. Bleary-
When the dawn rises, we open our eyes and rush to mark the number, gender and age of all the elephants in white, and after a while, when Katie breathed a sigh of relief, we wobbled
With the help of pygmies, our engineer Eric has removed all the recording units from around white and we have officially stopped collecting data.
When we went to white these days, we went to shoot videos and high quality audio.
Experience elephants without an agenda.
Our last day is today.
We packed our bags at the camp all morning, and at two o\'clock P. M. we were confident that we were good enough in the process to go to the White team for the last time.
It rained the night before, and by the time we got to white, it was clear.
There we found, in all his glory, the king of all Dzanga elephants, Hilton, the largest bull in the population.
Andrea has known him for ten years and found him the most successful breeder.
He likes to meditate more than any other elephant she observes.
He protected a long list of female animals during estrus.
He stood about 10 feet on his shoulder, and his ivory was 6 feet long, reaching the ground.
He\'s amazing.
We saw him guarding a female earlier in the season and mating with her.
Today, he is guarding a new woman, Juanita 3, who has a young woman about four years old.
He stood by and allowed her to enter the best hole in the open space, and just turned to them and drove away all the others.
On one occasion, the three of them walked near Mirador, a small platform about 30 metres away from the main platform that Katie and I were filming.
He\'s close to me and I feel like I can touch him, but, really, he\'s about 10 to 15 metres away from me.
He was standing near Juan Nita, and she took a shower in a dusty pool while sucking her daughter.
The light shone on his ivory, and he put the trunk at the tip of one of the ivory.
Then he followed the mother bird and her juv to the edge of the forest, and they separated the leaves one by one and left.
We were very excited to see him on the last day.
Then, we are also happy to see Mona 1 and her newborn baby, the first time since we met her two years ago, when her baby died, we stood by her side (
Maybe malnutrition)in front of us.
That year, I wrote this sad thing in my letter at home.
But she gave birth here.
Olivia and her new baby are standing by her side.
Oria 1 was the woman who responded so horrible to Morna\'s dead calf that day ---
I know some people have seen our video.
So this is a wonderful end to our season, and it makes us feel that the life of these elephants is still going on, and this cycle, it sounds pretty cliché and starts over.
I slept soundly last night and was overwhelmed by the idea that we were about to leave, and I was eager to enjoy every sound of the night here.
About 2: 30. m.
I can hear the wood owl near the forest.
I could also hear a mouse chewing in the corner of our cottage.
There was also the whine sound of a mosquito that was frustrated by my indestructible net.
After a while, I can hear the repeated owl-
Like the distant cry of a palm civet in a chorus of cricket.
Elephants rumbling from time to time from the swamp, sounding like far away --off thunder.
I woke up again at 5: 30 in the morning hoping to hear about the Nkulengu track.
It was Luis who told us that if you heard them at night, you would hear them again in the morning ---
I heard it at 10: 30 last night.
They are probably my favorite sounds.
One of Andrea\'s bird books calls their duels \"repeated, rhythmic rants\"aa-
Sounds like a dancing kangga
Line through the forest.
\"I think that\'s right.
Unfortunately, I seem to have missed their duet in the morning.
But I heard the monkeys calling in the distance. The African gray parrot flew over, whistling and screaming.
So we\'re going home on a long journey. I want to get my head around.
I look back on these three months here and it doesn\'t seem to make any sense during that time.
Time seems to both decay and compression here.
In the past few days, I have measured the time with the rest of the time.
I think I have to take this path five more times, or this is the last time I see an elephant, or this may be the last time I see sitatunga slip into the tree hole.
There is a word \"be careful\" for the Py meter \".
This is \"bondamiso\", literally, \"Keep your eyes on this one.
\"I thought of the word, how do I use it not as a warning, but as a exhortation to drink greedily in sight, sound and smell.
I tried to imagine what it would be like to get into the life I left behind.
I know that the diversity of light switches, tap water and food once again became commonplace after the skin burst and I will still carry this place with me.
Its mark is indelible, and as rürke wrote, I will put up with it \"like a cracked Cup.
I think it\'s two. -
My body is eager to go home, but my soul is sick.
Melissa \"so let this be my parting word when I leave, what I see is insurmountable \"---
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