October 10, 2016
Great Apes of Budongo, Part 1
- as seen by -Nina Holbrook
I’ve always thought of apes going along with an array of very applicable adjectives – magnificent, humanlike, endangered, and of course, great. When presented with my first opportunity to encounter an ape in the wild, I had not expected to add “sulky” to that list, but here we are.
Trekking through the Budongo Forest near Uganda’s spectacular Murchison Falls National Park, it had been pouring that morning, even more than in previous days. It was the rainy season, after all. It had dried up early, but the gray humidity hung heavy still at 8:30 am. Our guide seemed a bit nervous, repeatedly reminding us that we were out in nature. There were no guaranteed sightings. We knew this, of course, and reassured him accordingly, but our anxiousness was palpable. After just 45 minutes of quietly making our way through the dripping greenery, he stopped, and pointed up with a relieved smile. There they were – over 30 chimpanzees high above us – silent, immobile, and sprinkled across an array of huge fig trees.
Read Part 2 of Great Apes of Budongo.