on Mangos, Monkeys and Maggie (Uganda), 30/Jun/2009 06:34, 34 days ago
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Getting up at 5.30 a.m. on Saturday was definitely worth the effort. By 7 a.m. we were deep in the forest witnessing a community of chimps waking up. This was a once in a lifetime experience for us; a special treat from our chimp researching friends, Cathy and Roman, who invited us to spend the day with them at their place of work. We kept up with one family group of chimps for the whole day and observed their daily routine. It was fascinating watching the inter-action between the family and their friends and learning about the different relationships. We had it all - the love story, the jealousy, the frustration, the rejection, the sibling rivalry, the parental angst! It would make a great soap! One of the tasks of the research assistants was to collect a urine sample from a particular female. I was intrigued by how this could be possible and expected to see a technical piece of equipment. It turned out to be a long branch with a plastic bag on the end which was strategically placed under the chimp whenever she was up a tree! They weren’t successful on this occasion but I’m told it’s not always so difficult. It was an amazing experience to be with these wild animals at such close quarters. Sometimes they walked right past us, just a few feet away. A couple of times we had a display of anger from one of the males who camecharging past us at speed; it was pretty scary! A lot of the day is spent eating and grooming but when the chimps decided to move on we just had to keep up with them. We stomped through the forest and jungle, fighting with the undergrowth, for eight hours. It was totally exhausting but so exhilarating and worth every ache and pain the next day.Maggie.It would be impossible to up-load all 380 photos so here’s a very small sample:Setting out with the sophisticated 'wee catcher':Back at base, exhausted: