Although not as exciting as following monkeys, John and I have been conducting vegetation transects and quadrats. This does have certain perks though, including the following:
- Freedom of pace;
- Exploring the mountains and forests;
- Ample time for breaks in scenic locations;
- And playing on trees/rocks/vines;
Let’s focus on this last point.
While sometimes it’s frustrating tearing your way through acacias and other thorny plants, every now and then you come across some amazing natural formation that is just begging you to hop on. John, who is gutsier and superior in upper body strength, usually does so first, followed with my attempts to copy such acrobatics.
And then sometimes, you come across a lone vine or amazing tree that just needs to be marked down on the GPS for later revisiting. So far, we’ve mapped three locations:
- “John’s vine”: about 10 m up a tree, requiring ample upper body strength and overcoming your fear of heights (neither qualities which I posses currently);
- “The Slanty Fig”: perfect for lounging on and lunch breaks, The Slanty Fig leans across the hill with it’s tip about 20 m up;
- and “Spaghetti City”: which features an obstacle course of vines along with a nice cradle for rest and relaxation.
With monthly vegetation surveys, hopefully we’ll start finding more natural bigtoys for exploration and play.
And as this is a blog intended to be about (non-human)primates, during brunch, Ben started laughing. Looking behind me, a Samango was conspicously observing us with hands and nose pressed against the glass. Which just goes to show you, they’re just as curious about us as we are about them!
The local baboon troop may also be in disarray as there has been a lot of fighting with screeches and cries echoing across the mountain. A large male was sitting injured (two large gashes across his cheek) beneath a tree, hounding a smaller one. I’ve been told the dominance structure may be out of whack as females have been seen getting involved.
(With only about 2 hours a week every Monday online, I haven’t had a chance to add photos. Hopefully next week though!)
(Photos 8-13 taken by John)