We would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and very warm wishes for 2010. We apologise for slowing down in blog updates, but hopefully this year we will pick up the slack and you guys can see how we are doing regarding meeting our project goals. It is our hope that this year we will accomplish a lot and thank you all for your continued support. We hope you feel as much part of this process as we are and we will do our best to account for all your queries even though it is not always easy.
Wobbling down what seems like an endless descent from the lofty perches of Nkuringo Ridge, the village of Kahurire in the patchwork of green hollows below looks tiny no matter how close we get to it, like a scattering of child’s playhouses neatly arranged in neighbor friendly concentric circles. The ragged leaves of the banana trees and deep red earth of Kahurire’s paths snake through the valley like bursting capillaries, the lifeblood of this patch of farmland on the forest’s edge.
From arriving here five months ago, being introduced to all the wonderful people at WildCRU (great bunch of dedicated people) getting stung by nettles (in a touch rugby match), catching chicken pox (which was thought to be swine flu), and going on with the studies, studying at the University of Oxford has been a great experience. I find this place fascinating and rich of history. The landscapes and meadows look like they were painted by one talented landscape artist. I was shocked to learn that a 200 year old building is considered young around here.
I wanted to give you a quick update while Nakedi is away: after a long time of not finding any leopards, and getting very discouraged, I was thrilled recently to get some great data on the leopards that use the concesson. A few of the camera traps at different times captured three different leopards--two males and a female. After encountering only tracks for the longest time, and wondering whether even these were just tricks of the eye, it was a great relief to see lepoards alive and well for the purposes of the project.
I would like to say hi to all of you who have been following and supporting Nakedi’s work. My name is Nnzumbeni Tshikalange -- Nakedi introduced me in the previous blog. I am going to share with you my first experience in the bush.