Sunday November 9th marked the day of capturing the first leopard in my career. The event was too beautiful to mar with heavy words. Here is a full account of what happened that day in pictures.
Nothing starts your day like an angry mob at 7am.
A group of fifty or so men are gathering outside the yard of the house we're staying at. Things get heated – men begin shouting and waving their arms in frustration. They’re yelling in Lingala, so I look to Jef for help. He shrugs. “They want money.”
[Reporting from the Congo Heartland]
We had clear skies and a cool temperature as we pushed our two giant wooden canoes (pirogues) off the bank into the Maringa River. The crowd that had gathered to watch us pack now waved and shouted, wishing us bon voyage.
30 minutes after baiting the leopard traps, and having been reassured that they would be safe from lions, we got a call from Matthew Harding (Head guide). Steve Faulconbridge (Conservation officer) had seen two lionesses get in to the last cage and get trapped!
A while back I wrote about the progress being made on the bonobo research and conservation center in our Congo Heartland. I'm joining a 15 person expedition organized by Jef Dupain, director of the Heartland, to visit the site, check on construction as it nears completion, install a VSAT internet connection, and prepare some media buzz for its opening.