General News - October 2013
News from Central African Republic - 7 October 2013
News from Rod Cassidy in the Dzanga-Sangha National Park, Central African Republic.
Tensions and emotions have bounced up and down every day. My personal impression of the situation is that it is quite calm and the general feeling is that every day is better than the last.
Dzanga Bai and the elephants:
I managed a visit to Dzanga Bai and the situation on the ground seems to have returned to normal with over 40 elephant present for most of the day, as well as around 15 buffalo and 6 bongos. This is still the most impressive attraction of the park. The sad tell tales signs of elephant bones littering the edge of the bai were the only reminders of the slaughter of May 7. Hopefully our presence and the gradual return of other expats will help secure this and ensure a repeat does not occur.
Gorillas and Bai Hoku:
I had a chance to visit Bai Hoku on the week-end and spent time with the staff down there as well as Terence Fuh (one of the other expats who has returned). We had a great time and went to see Makoumba andhis tribe. Makoumba for those who don't know, is our most habituated gorilla here, he is "THE MAN"! All is well down there and the areas is secured with eco-guards as well as an appalling road.
Birding and wildlife has helped keep me sane and the highlights of the last few weeks included the visit to the elephants, the visit to the gorillas, and around my own camp I've had great birding includinga long tailed hawk which was a great bonus for me. Those mammal watchers who know the lodge will be sad to hear the tree with the roosting Anomalure (Google it) feel over so we no longer have a resident anomalure.
New species - super shrew! - 1 October 2013
Thor's hero shrew is so named after the 'God of Strength'. The shrew has a super strong system of interlocking vertebrae that is of interest to structural designers and engineers as well as vertebrae biologists.
Discovered recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Rainer Hutterer and his team of colleagues, its thought the shrew has developed the incredibly strong spine in order to reach worms under heavy logs or larvae in the leaf bases of palms.