“How do you describe this place to people that have never been into the central wilderness of the Okavango Delta? How do you share the overwhelming feeling of alertness and vitality brought on by the realisation that you are surrounded by animals that far more powerful than you are? Faster, stronger, more agile and, of course, wilder. They are the masters of their own sunrise and the lords of the dark nights after sunset. We all feel inspired by this wilderness and feel like refugees in this wild, primordial place we could never live in permanently. This is the undisputed kingdom of the lion, elephant, hippo, crocodile, leopard, buffalo, python and honey badger. Every meter that we pole in our mokoros and every step we take on land has to be done mindfully with care and respect for a landscape that is older than us and owned by no one but those who live in it. Stepping into a living, breathing wild landscape helps us understand our place in this living planet, makes us feel what it is to be truly human. For the first time you feel the deep weakness and insecurity that made us what we are today. We have so much to learn from these last-remaining untamed and unmanaged places on earth. These landscapes and the wildlife that depend upon them have been around for millions of years and are connected to eternity by the slow, unbroken passage of time. Life that fits into the universal pace of natural selection, evolution, random chance, and creativity. All will be gone in the next few decades due to our activity and the cataclysmic damage we have done already.”
Part 2 of “Okavango” is a unique view into the daily goings-on while on expedition across the Okavango Delta. A must-watch for anyone who loves the wilderness… All who participate in our research expeditions are driven to their physical and mental limit by being lost half the time, fatigued and starved all the time, over-stimulated, burnt by the sun, drained by the humidity, mentally tired from the constant data recording, and driven on by nervous energy. All of us have engineered our lives around being able to do these expedition every year and could not imagine a reason that would keep us from this life-giving wilderness.
Go to intotheokavango.org for a real-life, LIVE view into our world on expedition. These stunning satellite images and our GPS paths across them make it clear just how hard it is to navigate your way across this patchwork mosaic of channels, floodplains, lagoons, papyrus, reedbeds, tree-lines, termite mounds, sand tongues and over 10,000 islands. Reading the flow of the water, predicting where the dangerous animals like hippos are going to be, spotting danger before trouble, watching ripples, wind direction, aquatic vegetation, slight changes in flow, plant matter in the water, birds along the edges, everything. A clear, alert mind for the first time is a euphoric experience. Being, for want of better word, linked into this truly wild landscape with all of your consciousness is to be at peace and want for nothing.
The Okavango Wetland Bird Survey represents the most complete data set on the distribution, abundance and breeding activity of wetland birds in the Okavango Delta. Each annual data set includes 2,700 – 5,000 bird sightings over a 320-350km transect line with wetland habitat mapped and identified either side of the transect line. We count wildlife, aquatic vegetation and fish sightings. This 9-year project is an effort to “benchmark” this amazing wilderness as it is now without significant impacts upstream. This annual survey will be repeated for as long as possible after the 9th expedition in 2018 and the annual results (made available via an Open API) represent our best chance at noticing significant changes to the natural functioning of the Okavango Delta. In 2015, we aim to start amphibian surveys in December to establish a long-term data set on their distribution and abundance for use as a more fine-tuned indicator of significant change. I talk about some if this in this video…
If you have not seen Part 1, here it is… Enjoy!
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