Wading through flooded jungle to reach camera traps

Retrieving the camera trap footage from the jungles of Khao Sok National Park is not always an easy feat. Occasionally there is a higher risk for a wild elephant encounter, other times the challenges may arise from weather conditions. Prior to our latest trek, taking place just halfway through the green season, there had been a couple of days of steady rainfall in the area.

A light rain was falling also in the morning of our trek as we were waking up to the beautiful surroundings at our Rainforest Camp. It was just a matter of minutes after we had started to incline towards postponing the trek, when the skies suddenly cleared, and the sun came out. We then decided to go ahead with the trek in order to see what kind of wildlife footage the green season has to offer.

The water level at the lake was a lot higher than last time, so we were able to tie our boat very close to the starting point of our trek. When we walked into the jungle, it quickly became clear what kind of conditions were ahead of us. Water flowing down from the mountains had created streams which had gradually expanded into small rivers. We ended up wading in the water through most parts of the trek, and several massive, fallen trees along the path gave some extra challenge.

At times, the water reached up until our knees and we started to be a bit concerned of the camera traps and whether they had endured the monsoon weather. Wading our way through the jungle and around the fallen trees, we finally arrived at the last camera trap. It was, as many others, completely destroyed. Out of the 10 cameras we had recording wildlife in the forest, only 4 are still functioning. We lost a whopping 6 cameras this round! Some were damaged by humidity, others were smashed into bits and pieces by wild elephants.

With some broken cameras we were able to recover the memory card, and the remaining 4 cameras were working normally. Stay tuned for the footage which turned out to be very interesting after all! Meanwhile, here are some examples of how the cameras were treated by wild elephants…

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