20 Feb 2014

Wamba Reunion

February 2nd

 I arrived in Kinshasa last night and am staying at the Hotel Guesthouse. I had coffee with a few of the guests this morning, met up with Monkengo to get my research permit, and bought some supplies. Now I'm going to have another cold shower, and tomorrow morning I fly to Djolu.

February 10th

I got to Wamba yesterday. Everything went really well on my journey. The researchers here are lovely, and it's great to see the bonobos again. Kiku had a baby! Yesterday! So I had to go to the forest immediately today to see her. I get to name the baby! It has to start with a K - if it was a boy the trackers wanted to call him Kabila!! hehehe. Naming things is hard. I'm deciding between Keba (Lingala for "Attention/look out!") and Kiel (in the great bear rainforest). It would be too vain to call her Kirsty I did consider Kenzie...

Kame Kake (the bonobo group) is great! Two new babies (did I mention Kiku is 43?!) and a new immigrant female. Bafaluka was so proud that I recognized all the females and young'uns. Now I need to learn the males - my last project didn't focus on them. It was weird how not weird it felt to be back: waking up at 0400, fresh papya for breakfast, out at 0450, at the nest by 0540, following until 1130, back at 1240. Makemba (plantain) and pineapple for lunch! mmm mmm. I didn't collect focal data, but took some video. I recognized the trails and remembered all the plant names. And I only got bitten by very small ants, poor Heun-jin and Bokondie got the proper red bahimba D-:

February 12th

In response to Carol's question- yes, the bonobos definitely recognize me ;-) Actually, they are much better with the camera this time than they were last time. I really had to habituate them to it, but this time none of them are fazed. Iユm really happy that I came at this time of year. Weユll see how the next five months go, but for now the conditions for filming have been excellent ミ I followed them 5 days this week, and have lots of usable footage.

I forced myself to take a day off on Monday, because my mind thinks that I can do the same number of days in a row as at the end of last time, but my legs are not so sure. Although it has been incredibly hot, I think my familiarity with Wamba has allowed my body to acclimatize immediately. Itユs not as overwhelming as the last time.

We decided to name Kikuユs infant メKalinzuモ after the chimpanzee site. Hoshi gave birth two days ago, and I think Iユll name her infant Hannah, after a certain Miss Altimas (can you let her know?) so that now thereユs an Erica and a Hannah. I just need Ichi to have a baby girl to have the full 211 crew. And Nao might be pregnant, so Iユll start floating the name Nora around so that itユs the first thing everyone thinks of. But I have to wait a few days to confirm the sex of Hoshiユs baby with another researcher. Iユm also a little hesitant because Hoshi has lost two babies, so maybe Iユll call her Hope. Hachiro is not very pleased with his little sister ミ he is behaving very differently from Kiyota (who is incredibly independent), basically attaching himself to his mother and screaming whenever she starts to travel without carrying him even though heユs now 4 years old.

February 19th

This week I started working with P Group. I didnユt work with them last time, so now I have to learn new identification. Itユs exciting! And it means that I have a much larger sample size, and can compare the gestures used by each group. Their range is a bit farther away, but itユs not as expansive as Kame Kakeユs. A couple of the bonobos have pretty serious snare injuries though ミ Hide is missing her left leg below the knee, and Sakuユs right hand is dead with a wire snare caught around the wrist since January. Itユs really sad. There arenユt meant to be any wire snares in the reserve, but enforcement is difficult.

Today both Kame Kake and P Group were lost, so I went with Saeko and Yumoto to see their ヤbotaniqueユ work. Theyユre making transects and taking 360 photos with a fish eye lens to compare forest composition and canopy cover from the ground with satellite images. I enjoyed learning more tree species, and taking time to look at the forest that I normally just walk through blindly. I realize that I know the fruits that bonobos eat, but not the trees they come from.

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