The following is a pre-recorded account of my aspirations, dreams and expectations for the Elephant Expedition I am currently undertaking. Stay in touch for news of what really happens while I’m away!
The dreamy journal
So, if all has gone to plan, I’m now in Kathmandu, getting ready to fly to Nepalgung tomorrow along with Colonel John Blashford-Snell and around 20 other team members. We’re then setting off into the Sal Forests of Bardia National Park. We plan to ride domestic elephant, to hide our scent and prevent too much impact on our environment, to look for wild elephant. We are aiming to find and record as many of the, now somewhat famous (see my Mammoth Hunt blog), giant elephants of Bardia as we can, as part of an ongoing population survey for the Nepalese government.
A wife, mother and general newbee to this sort of thing, I have somehow ended up with the roles of photographer, videographer and science geek on this expedition and have packed and hauled with me a large number of weird things. These include the stuff needed to collect, store and transport samples of elephant dung for an elephant DNA mapping project being carried out by Cardiff University, two packs of Thirst Pockets kitchen towels with which I will attempt to dry an elephant on behalf of my sponsors, and a pile of soft elephant toys to cheer up the local children following dental treatment provided by some of my more qualified expedition peers. I also have a camera and video camera with which I aim to record as much of the trip I can so I may share it with you all upon my return.
Today is an acclimatization day and the expedition team will be spending it having a briefing at the Shankar Hotel where we’re staying in Kathmandu. There will also be the opportunity to shop, sightsee and visit Braktapur, an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley. I shall therefore have some lovely photos of this experience that I might share with you upon my return.
The reality check
Of course, as I explained in yesterday’s blog, there is also a fairly strong possibility that I will have missed my transfer flight from Delhi and still be trying desperately to get to Kathmandu.
This is such a terrible thought at this point that, rather than try to imagine what I might be doing right now in those circumstances, I shall use this moment to catch you up and fill you in a little more about the mission that has brought this expedition out to Nepal.
I have written multiple blogs previously that provide some background to this expedition. If you are new to this blog, I recommend you elect to read:
- Nepal-Bardia 2012 (via top link)
- About the Colonel
- About the Prof
- The Charity
- The Sponsor
- About Nepal
- About Bardia
There are also further blogs about my preparations that can be accessed by selecting ‘Nepal’ from the drop down box off the Nepal-Bardia 2012 top link above. (I’d provide links here but I wont be around to approve them on publication so, please forgive me if I don’t – and if anyone has a clue how to change this setting so internal links to other posts are pre-approved do please let me know!)