For the first time in Adelaide National Geographic Live came to town last night.
Bob Poole, photographer and videographer and film maker for National Geographic who has been working for them since he was 17 and whose passion is Africa where he spent his life since the age of four, spoke and showed us snippets of his new six part series on Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique entitled Nature Roars Back.
Despite upheaval and challenges cause by a long running civil war and ongoing sporadic fighting, and the rebels using the mountain for which the park was named as their headquarters and living off the park’s game while fighting, after twenty years of relative peace and with the help of benefactor Greg Carr and a dedicated team the park is making a come back.
Getting to know the animals in the park, the elephants who are understandably very wary of humans as the rebels shot the elephants for their ivory in order to get weapons and ammunition, the lions who are starting to return are just two examples Bob took us through as he shared his journey. Some of the close encounters with the elephants were hair raising and the land rover did not come off so well. Bob’s sister Joyce is a world expert on elephant and has spent a great deal of time with Bob in Gorongosa helping to habituate the elephants to the presence of humans, but even she was taken by surprise by the aggressiveness of some of the elephants.
After the rains Bob went to an area he had seen from a helicopter where there were several species of nesting storks. The platform in the tree was small and uncomfortable but the footage of the birds, the hatching of the chicks and the flight of the birds was spectacular. Based on his record the experts believe there were 5000 nests making this the largest nesting site in Southern Africa. Equally, the huge number of crocodiles who largely went into the water and stayed there whenever danger appeared and this survived the war is probably one of the largest known also.
It was a fascinating evening. It certainly reminds us why Africa as a continent is so special and habitat must be protected. It is because their habitat was not destroyed that the animals are returning to Gorongosa.
Their website is below.