Goualougo Triangle Field Diaries

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May 19, 2014
The Color of Money

The Congo Basin is one of the world’s richest areas in terms of biodiversity. It possesses the second largest expanse of old growth tropical forest on the planet and is home to significant numbers of insects, reptiles, mammals and plant species.

April 16, 2014
Tuning in to Goualougo

It’s 10:57 p.m. I’m lying in a small but comfortable tent at our base camp in the Goualougo Triangle deep in the pristine forests of northern Congo.

March 21, 2014
Familiarity in the Forest

For the past nine months Lincoln Park Zoo’s Dave Morgan, Ph.D., and his team of research assistants and gorilla trackers has been toiling in the Republic of Congo’s Goualougo Triangle. Their work in this remote, 100-square-mile area—nestled deep within the densely forested Nouaboule-Ndoki National Park— is delicate and at times dangerous. That’s especially true for their latest project: habituating a troop of western lowland gorillas to the presence of humans.

March 18, 2014
A Walk in the Forest

The crackle of our steps disturbed the ever-present forest murmur—the dull buzz of insects, the familiar drone of cicadas and the musical trills of birdcalls. We were setting out for our first day of ape tracking in the Republic of Congo’s Goualougo Triangle.

February 28, 2014
Deep Forest Odyssey

As I lay completely still in the pitch darkness, I took stock of things. My feet were like two wounded warriors, bruised and beaten by the day. They screamed at me in rhythmic throbs, keeping time with my heartbeat. My back and shoulders were tight knots contorted in protest. Knees, hips and ankles all joined the aching chorus but were easily drowned out by the soaring clamor inside my dusty socks.

February 20, 2014
On the Trail of Ebobo

We arrived by plane in Ouesso, a town on the Sangha River near the northern border of the Republic of Congo. Crossing the river by ferry in a Range Rover loaded with field supplies, our bags strapped to the roof, we headed north to Bomassa on a bumpy one-lane dirt road.

February 13, 2014
Brazzaville: Gateway to the Goualougo Triangle

A symphony of sounds rises into the humid Congolese air as I search for my travel companions. Though it’s only 8 a.m., the humid air hangs on us like a soggy sweater. But the noises around us are not what you might expect.

February 10, 2014
Journey to Congo

Taking off from O’Hare International Airport prompted a surreal thought. As the blustery snow blew sideways and, far below, Lake Michigan resembled a wintry, gray mass of icebergs, I wondered whether I’d packed appropriately for 90-degree, humid, buggy central Africa.

September 3, 2013
Going Green for Research Power

Not long after we initiated the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project, it became increasingly apparent that having power at our camp site would be incredibly beneficial.

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