Sri Lanka - Week 1

It’s taken me longer than anticipated to get this first blog post up and for the few that have been anticipating it I apologise for the delay, the internet access has been wank and to be honest we've been busy. (Also I wrote this 4 days ago and the internet has only worked in 3 second stints since then and it takes about an hour to upload each image).

We’ve been in Sri Lanka for just over a week now, and after a dramatic stint at customs in Colombo we arrived at our campsite in the middle of the night last this time last week. Surprisingly the camp facilities are really nice especially considering that we are in the goddamn jungle… The arboretum staff even built us a compost loo and wash facilities.

We got straight into work the next day, we got guided around our survey area by the main arboretum keeper and biodynamic farming enthusiast Jayantha, he explained the threats the local jungle forests and the wildlife within them are facing. Following that we had a few guided night walks to help us acclimatise our eyes to spotting Loris and other critters that are active mainly in the night time.

Setting Camera Traps - Joseph Gray

Setting Camera Traps - Joseph Gray

Since then we’ve basically been on our own (other than a couple of visits from Sri Lankan wildlife biologists to give us some talks on their areas of expertise), the team have got well and truly balls deep into this thing. We’ve been setting camera traps, conducting night walks and rotating between “stills”, “moving image” and “scientific study” teams. Until the last couple of days when it was time for our scheduled “R&R”. We climbed Sigiriya Rock and got acquainted with the hilarious toque macaque residents one of the cocky little buggars tried to eat my lens hood… Following the day in the sun we called past a local fancy hotel and crashed their lunch time buffet, honestly it must have looked like we hadn’t eaten for a week as we descended upon the buffet like a bunch of savages, following that we spent the evening in the hotels glorious pool, watching the sunset over an amazing lake before heading back to camp to crash out hard for the night.

Photo Credit: Gemma Waring

Photo Credit: Gemma Waring

Toque Macaque Selfie - Joseph Gray

Toque Macaque Selfie - Joseph Gray

We have seen an absolute abundance of wildlife with everything from mouse deer to loris to even almost stepping on a hump nosed viper on a night walk. The footage that we have gotten from the camera traps so far has been amazing also, we managed to capture footage of civets, toque macaques and even black langur monkeys to mention just a few.

Motherly Love - Joseph Gray

Motherly Love - Joseph Gray

The camp conversation has shifted into an area of comfortability that I could not have predicted. General talk over our “very mild” spicy meals revolves around our bowel movements and who is “still in the game” of “producing solids”, unbelievably all but one of us (Filipa) seem to still be pushing solids out. That being said there are a few constipation complaints…

Poo seems to be a recurring theme around the teams focus (definitely not due to my own influence) and yesterday Gemma managed to get some amazing footage of a kingfisher excreting. The celebrations when we all watched the civet dropping a load right before the trap cam must have been deafening… I just need to get infrared footage of a loris taking a dump now.

Yesterday, the resident toque macaque monkeys raided camp, they got their hands of a few toothbrushes and some bits and bobs, and messed up a little bit of washing before my team “Cobra by day horseshoe bat by night” caught them and chased them off, we cleaned up the situation and as we were leaving we spotted them again… at which point, we were able to observe some very interesting behaviour, copulation. It was short but the horny little fellow seemed to have a good time, after he was done she wondered off and he sat down and played with his todger… he even gave his produce a little taste which for me was a definite hilarious highlight so far.

Hopefully it won’t take me another whole week to get the next one up but if it does then so be it…

Until next time x