9 Nov 2012

Joy of Tracking

Hello hello,

Ooof. This week has been a rollercoaster of sorts. I'm not entirely sure how to encapsulate it. What began with a day that made me think I wasn't cut out for tropical field research, turned into a most memorable and successful week. 

To begin at the beginning, twice I had been caught out in the rain after ignoring warning droplets, so on Saturday when I felt the first few drops I thought "Aha! I won't get caught out again, I will turn back and work the afternoon instead." 

Needless to say the sun broke out, Kame Kake stayed within a half hour walk of the station, and gorged themselves on sugar cane. In the afternoon Kame Kake were lost in the secondary growth forest for two hours, when we found them they were heading towards the poto poto, then it rained for another two hours, we found them again as they moved deeper into the poto poto, and then when they finally reemerged it was to eat 'langa' fruit in the tallest tree imaginable. I felt pretty useless walking home in the dark while the rain started to pour again.

But the next day was fantastic. Kame Kake went into the poto poto for a morning snack of bosenge fruit, making video collection easier. Then in the afternoon they went back to the zamba ya pete pete for more sugar cane. The area used to be a plantation, but now the sugar canes and pineapples grow freely and are somewhat maintained by the villagers.

Although it was distressing to know that the bonobos were eating a valuable food source, they have no intention of misgiving and the food sharing behaviour was fascinating. Tuesday was brilliant, as I was able
to get ample footage of the youngest male infant whose mother is elusive and frequently leaves the rest of the group. Yesterday was, interesting. A lot of swamp with the bonobos in very small groups and only one tracker and myself. 

Today was really cool-let me give you a hint; why did the bonobos cross the road? to eat bokila fruit on the other side. It was neat to see the cooperative road crossing behaviour.

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