Back from the Jungle Part 1

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January 22nd 2008
Published: January 22nd 2008
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Heading to the JungleHeading to the JungleHeading to the Jungle

Goofy Pic on the boat with two of my housemates
It's been about 3 weeks since my last update and a lot has happened out here.

The few days before we left for the expedition was all packing and preparing equipment for the trip. This includes food for 40+ people for 18 days, and thousands of pounds of gear needed for primate research. It was a lot of work but it was worth it.

The small group of students that I live with here in Malabo, and I were mostly along for the ride. I mean that we were obligated, not asked to do much more work than all the others to get ready, only because we has less credentials and were less experienced at conservation work. The scientists and researcher were to busy sucking up to the National Geographic photographers and writers that would accompany us on the trip (more on that later). Oh, well I am not upset, the trip was incredible regardless of the arrogant people.

The trip began from the Mobil Equatorial Guinea compound in Malabo. Mobil is a large contributor to the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP), with whom we were working. The expedition left early in the morning and we loaded onto
Heading to the JungleHeading to the JungleHeading to the Jungle

Pic of the lush rainforest from the boat
a freight ship, which took us and our gear to Moraka Playa. This beach acted as the basecamp for the Gran Caldera de Luba. The jungle is unlike any place that I have ever been. The amount of plant and wildlife is incredible.

For the first week we spent most of the time living in Moraka Playa camp and we went out into the forest in groups multiple times a day for monkey census. The whole purpose of the expedition was to research and count the different species of wild primates and other forest mammals like Duikers and Galagos. Also many species of sea turtles that use this island as nesting grounds. Censusing is a way to account for the amount of the monkeys and other animals in the forest. With this knowledge it will be easier to show the Equatoguinean government and the people of the island how much of an impact that hunting for bushmeat can have on biodiversity and potential endangerment or even extinction of species.

For year Dr. Gail Hearn and Dr. Tom Butynski, whom are both accredited primatologist and researchers, have been working to protect the biodiversity on this island. This place is
At the US Embassy At the US Embassy At the US Embassy

The housemates at the US Embassy in Malabo
such a unique place; there are some species that live here that live no where else on the earth. This is why it is so important that we do all this research. To gain so publicity and to spread knowledge about the BBPP the doctors convinced National Geographic to send a group of writers and photographers on the expedition with us so they could document and show the world the importance of conservation on this island.

It was a great experience to be able to hike through the forest with National Geographic photographers and actually be pointing out things that they could take pictures of. I even had a few pictures taken of me and there is a possibility I will be in the publication of the article. Crazy stuff.

The Caldera is an amazing sight to be seen. Very few people have actually seen it first hand, since it is so hard to obtain permits to use the forest and also since it so difficult to access (only by foot, helicopters can only fly above it).

Now we are back here in Malabo, waiting to set of on our next adventure in the highlands of Moka.
At the US EmbassyAt the US EmbassyAt the US Embassy

My housemates and I with the Ambassador his wife and the Deputy Chief of Missions
These last few days back in civilization have been great, we have been guests at benifit dinners at the US Embassy and the Marathon Petrolium Company. It certainly wasn't feeling like Africa for a few days there, more like a sophisticated LA party. I felt a little out of place.

I am ready to get back to the forest for a few weeks.

Be back soon! okay bye.

PS. Sorry there aren't more pictures, the internet in Malabo is extremely slow.


24th January 2008

So Cool!
Hey Joe, sounds like you are on an unbelievable adventure and having an incredible time! Love reading about all of it and seeing the pics! Can't wait to see the rest of your crazy pictures when you return in a few months. Take care of yourself. Love, Courtney
5th February 2008

We are all so proud of you, Joe. What an adventure. Anneli is amazed that you are in Afirca. Keep up the good work. We love you, Joan
6th February 2008

Sup, Joe. Must be fun in the jungle. When are you coming back? your nephew, Will Rocha p.s. do you get e-mail acess
1st August 2008

I miss you
Hey Joe, I didnt know you were writing this or I guess I forgot. We had a good time. I miss you. Im sure you will still be off to some amazing adventures!

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