Tuesday July 26, 2016
If you thought the Scottish midge was bad, you obviously haven’t met the Congolese wasp!
This summer Pyramid is excited to be supporting two young conservationists who have travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa for a research project. The DRC has not one, but four strains of malaria, so sourcing quality protection was always a priority. Pyramid was happy to help, kitting the pair out with mosquito repellent, mosquito nets, bite relief and travel hygiene products.
Conservation projects like the GoCongo expedition provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for specialists to carry out ground-breaking work in the field. After months of planning, spreadsheets, gear gathering and intense studying, Mike Bull and Conleth Conway, both 23, finally boarded a plane to the DRC, and their adventure began.
The pair has teamed up with WWF to gain access to remote areas of Bandandu province, their new home for the summer. The area has around 300 species of reptiles but due to disease and conflict in the country, few biological studies have taken place and the variety of species remain a mystery. That’s where Mike comes in: reptiles are his speciality, so this is the perfect opportunity to meet the creatures which fascinate him, and give something back by documenting his findings.
So what have they been up to so far?
Well, during their time in Bandandu, Mike has been crafting pitfall traps to temporarily capture any reptiles he finds and observe them up close. Conleth’s work has taken the pair deep into the jungle tracking bonobos, a cousin of the chimpanzee, easily recognisable by its pink lips. Early morning treks have been spent searching for bonobo nests made of branches. They have found plenty of nests but the bonobos themselves have kept trackers on their toes, always staying a safe distance ahead. Patience has paid off for the pair, and a number of sightings have allowed Conleth to map the movement and location of the bonobos.
If only Africa’s creepy crawlies were as shy as the primates... during their time so far, the boys have been facing an army of bugs. The jungle has thrown red ants at them along with Tsetse flies, spiders, termites and mosquitoes. Each morning a generous spray of Trek 100 has been an essential part of the routine and after bite has made ant attacks more bearable. After long days in the jungle or study trips to the savannah, Pyramid’s compact mosquito nets have helped the conservationists to sleep easy, without the fear of night-time bites from disease-carrying beasties.
The pair has been careful not to threaten or provoke any biting animal they discover, but mosquitoes have turned up around every corner, so they have been kept on their guard. They have been warned about the notoriously aggressive Congolese wasp, but so far, have evaded its sting.
Life in the African jungle and savannah has thrown plenty of challenges at the conservationists so far, but having quality travel protection products has made their adventure much more comfortable. We have been blown away by their patience, determination and stamina so far and can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip holds for them. One thing’s for sure, whatever beastie is around the corner, using Pyramid Travel Products will stop it in its tracks.