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Were having a great time. Been out on the trail for eight days nowwalking through the mud, chopping our way through the rough patches. The forest is keeping us very busy with elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, monitor lizards, aardvarks, hinge tortoises, and tons of other wildlife.
Weve arrived in a place called the Goualougo, which is one of the deeper parts of the Ndoki forest. Weve dubbed it before the Last Place on Earth because thats what we really think it is. The animals here treat humans like in no other placewere strange things, completely unknown to them. They dont flee. They come to inspect you, in fact, because we are a species they have never seen before.
We were making our way toward the Goualougo River for a swamp crossing at about 3 p.m. yesterday, when our Pygmy guide stopped and looked at what we thought might have been a great termite mound or possibly an elephant. It didnt take long before it moved. We approached this elephant. Normally, when elephants get your scent, as an alert, they flee. To our great surprise, this elephant acted as if he was completely habituated. He didnt run.
Suddenly, behind us, we heard the telltale whimpering of a chimpanzee. We turned around and within about 25 feet [7.6 meters] there was a large male chimpanzee just peering through the bush looking at us from the ground.
Here we are. Were looking at an elephant on one side and a chimpanzee on another, 25 feet [7.6 meters] away on the ground.
This morning we got up and saw that the chimpanzees slept very close to our camp. Dave Morgan went to go follow him and located him in a tree, happily feeding away with a female and two young.
Hopefully the Goualougo does have a future. Were working with logging interests in the area. The better part of the Goualougo is actually in a logging concession. Were working hard to try and make the world at large realize that the Goualougo is in fact the Last Place on Earth.
We need to save it. I think we can. We certainly should. So hopefully this dispatch will reach many people that will start thinking about the Goualougo and ways that we might be able to save it. Well be in contact in the next few days. We have a few swamp crossings to make today. The going is pretty rough, but in another few days therell be clear sailing up to Makao. So, well be in touch. Thanks for standing by. See ya.
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