from Claudine’s diary…Mombengele

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I had to find the precise area where we are to build the electrified fence (by solar power) of the enclosure planned for the arrival on the day of the release. I already had an idea: Last year I saw an old abandoned camp where all the big trees had been felled and it was only 30 metres or so from the river, far enough to be out of sight of the people passing in their pirogues. We walked around the area to estimate the distance with our footsteps: 50m by 30m with a central grove of shrubs. “It’s perfect!”

We went deeper into the forest. To start with we were avoiding puddles of water and then eventually defeated, we trudged on with water up to our knees! The forest was much more swampy than in other periods. Titi Ô could not stop filming, all the while laughing at the “aquatic” misfortunes of one or the other.

We discovered much more solid ground than we had expected. To my surprise we were informed that the rise in water level last year (on which I had based my calculations) had been a year of exceptionally high water! A case, which only occurs every 4 to 5 years! Good news for our bonobos!

With the team – Yvon, who is the liaison for the ABC at the Basankusu office, “Chacal,” our cook, motorcycle driver and much more … and Thomas, his assistant,  all native to the area – we checked out the fruiting plants in the surroundings and the leafy plants that will be the base of the bonobos diet.

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