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The Hippos of Lake Urema

31 Janeiro, 2015

Gorongosa Field Notes: The Hippos of Lake Urema

By Jen Guyton, PhD student in Rob Pringle's lab at Princeton 

I scanned the shadows in the gray pre-dawn light, my senses on high alert as I listened for the crackling of twigs beneath a heavy hoof or the throaty sawing huff of a leopard on a sunrise prowl. After a few minutes, feeling sure the coast was clear, I jumped out of the truck. Holding my breath, I paced the 50 meters to collect the camera trap at the edge of the river, my field assistant watching my back. This was the hour when I felt most like the poorly-adapted, unarmed, weak and naked ape that I was: I squinted in the dim light, knowing that even elephants can creep silently through the brush, knowing that I would never outrun a livid buffalo whose morning sip I’d disturbed. Knowing that if I jumped into the river to escape, a croc could be waiting open-mouthed for a breakfast snack.  Read more...