Monday, July 20, 2009

Angola Trip #3

It’s been almost a year since I’ve been here in Soyo, so it’s interesting to be back. It takes the better part of 2 days to get here; I flew from Tampa to Houston, spent the night, then flew from Houston directly to Luanda, the capital of Angola (15 hours, 7640 miles), then took another short flight up to Soyo, in northern Angola. I arrived Sunday afternoon, checked into my room in a nice new house on the base and then was invited to a wine and cheese party! Certainly a nice way to end the journey.

Landing in Luanda... it's the dry season, but no matter when I come, the city always has this brown dusty haze, I've never seen it look clear.
Coming in to Soyo we flew over the Congo River and this village. I've been here by boat before to check out the large grassy area (ie manatee salad bar) Soyo AirportOn Monday I sampled 36 new manatee bones that were brought to the base by the deceased manatee hunter’s wife since my last trip. These bones were fresher than most of the previous ones we found at the hunter’s village last August, which is hopefully good news for DNA extraction. Tim, the wildlife advisor on base, enthusiastically cut all the samples with a hacksaw as I labeled them. He also showed me some of the cool animals he’s recently found on the base (which will be relocated back to the wild off base).

Most of the manatee bones were ribs. Although it's a bummer that these animals were hunted, hopefully their DNA will help us better understand the species.
Tim cutting samples- we take about a 3 inch sample of bone from each. Puff Adder, quite a dangerous snake... I was not actually this close!
Pelusios castaneus, a local species of freshwater turtleBaby python as wrist accessory


Anthony said...

Lucy, I can't wait to hear more!

Tess said...

cuuuuuuteness! :)

Tess said...

I meant the snake, of course. ;)