Alright folks, it‚Äôs official: On Sunday we‚Äôre jumping on a plane bound for the Democratic Republic of Congo to begin the Elephant Ivory Project! It‚Äôs been a long two years of preparation, but all the effort will pay off on Monday night when we touch down in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC. Our bags are nearly packed, and our malaria prescriptions are filled.
The expedition has two parts‚Äîcollect elephant scat samples to help conservation biologist Dr. Sam Wasser pinpoint illegal elephant poaching, and document our adventure to help raise awareness of the rapid decline of wild elephants. Elephant populations are being wiped out at a rate of about 10% a year right now to fuel the illegal ivory trade, so cracking down on poaching is critically important. To learn more about how the project works, click here.
Our mission looks like this:
Week 1: Fly into Kinshasa to meet with government officials, pick up permits, and meet veteran Congo field researcher Terese Hart. After a few days in Kinshasa we‚Äôll fly to Kisingani to meet up with Terese‚Äôs husband John, and make final plans to head into the field.
Weeks 1.5-4: Exact plans are unknown at this point, but we plan to collect scat samples from two specific areas‚ÄîTL2 (directly south of Kisingani) and Maiko (southeast of Kisingani).
Week 5: Once we have the samples we need, we‚Äôll head east to the Virunga National Park to drop off the samples with conservation officials. From Virunga, we‚Äôll make our way to Goma, then across the border to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. From Rwanda, we jump on a plane headed back to Portland, OR!
Media inquiries: Kyle Dickman
The Elephant Ivory Project is an EP Films forensic biology expedition to the remote jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo with the goal of saving wild elephants from the illegal ivory trade. Live updates made possible by SPOT Satellite Messenger.