On Friday our task was to collect data on the biodiversity trail. Maria, Marion, Talia & I enjoyed a beautiful walk along the river, past the village temple and through rice fields that will be harvested soon. The usually small & shallow stream we had to cross on our way was almost knee high with a strong current from heavy rainfall during the early morning hours. When we reached the start point of the transect ,we stopped, set up our GPSs, scanned the surrounding area for wildlife and did so every 50 m at marked points on the 500 m long transect. Findings were photographed and recorded in the datasheet. We arrived back at base in the early afternoon, where Maria enjoyed identifying butterly species from photographs and Marion went of to support the local community by having had a weaving lesson with Mae, on of our friends here in the hill tribe village.
Today (Saturday) it was back to elephant data collection. We left base at 07:00 and Maria & Kerri had a comparatively easy day with their study objects who did not wander through the forest much. Marion and I, on the other hand, had to follow “our” elephants down to the river, then up into and through very dense vegetation. As if this wasn’t enough of a workout, the elephants foraged almost “on the run”, so we were kept very busy for the entire four survey hours.
While I am writing this Maria & Talia are busy with data entry, while Marion is supporting the community some more by getting a Thai massage from a blind man in the village.