Elephant Hills, 30.01.2016
Further on to our report from December 2, 2015, here are the exciting outcomes of “Mission Footprint”.
Cheow Lan Lake / Khao Sok National Park.
Another early morning, and another wonderful day ahead: The skies are blue and the sun is just about to rise behind the limestone cliffs, as we head off into the rain forest of Khao Sok National Park once again to discover a few more of its many well-kept secrets.
The monsoon rains have passed, the water level of Cheow Larn Lake has sunk by two meters since last month. Days are hot, nights are refreshingly cool. The ground is a lot drier since our last trip into the forest, hence the abundance of footprints is considerably smaller than last time. Nonetheless, we spot footprints of gaurs, wild boars, various deer species – and a lot of old elephant dung. Quite surprising, that there are 5-ton giants roaming through this forest, leaving huge piles of dung behind, but there footprints are nowhere to be seen…
As the temperatures rise just above the 35°C, most animals prefer to rest in the shade throughout the day. The only wild life we spot today is a roughneck monitor lizard (Varanus rudicollis), which bathes in the sun until the moment it realizes our present, and then swiftly moves off into the brushwood.
A bit further down the path, while slowly moving along the limestone cliffs in order to find a good spot to set up the next camera trap, we suddenly discover a cave entry that had so far escaped our attention. Upon closer inspection, the cave turns out to be quite large, and judging from the masses of serow dung on the ground it seems to serve this rare goat-antelope as home and shelter. We can easily recall having filmed serows nearby this cave entrance before, but had to date been unaware of the very existence of this cave itself – of course one of our cameras will monitor this section for the upcoming months.
The rest of the day passes as planned; we collect hours and hours of new camera trap footage, adjust the filming angle of two of the cameras and equip all of them with new memory cards and batteries.
Back at Rainforest Camp, we immediately fire up our laptop to inspect the new footage. And that’s when suddenly everyone turns silent, before we all break into screams of joy and laughter as we realize that every single last drop of sweat was worth it.
Take a look and see for yourself what we discovered.
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