Did you miss the Okavango Google Hangout? If you weren’t able to tune in live, you can now watch the full replay!
The Okavango expedition is headed by four prominent National Geographic Explorers—Gregg Treinish, Steve Boyes, Shah Selbe and Jer Thorpe—and its aim is to lay the groundwork for future conservation projects in one of the last untouched great wilderness areas of the world. The Okavango River Delta is home and safe haven to many of Africa’s most iconic (and most threatened) animals, including elephants, lions, baboons, hippopotamus and crocodiles, as well as many different species of eagle, hyena, antelope, rhinoceros and much more.
There were a few notable highlights from the Hangout. Steve Boyes describes the importance of the mission and others like it by calling attention to the development in Angola, upstream from the Delta, which could have catastrophic impacts on the river ecosystems in Okavango. He also stresses that their live tracking data is not at risk for aiding poachers, especially given their extremely difficult route, but that interactive projects such as this one are very important for teaching and encouraging ecotourism to help the Okavango.
Gregg Treinish describes a close encounter with an elephant that wandered up outside his tent. He advises to anyone who encounters wild animals: “Remain calm… interacting with any wild animal can be dangerous, but if you remain calm, the animals can sense that. It’s situational awareness; I don’t think you can really make a blanket statement that you want to make a lot of noise, or that you want to play dead… you react to how that animal is feeling, and you know that the animal is feeling you, too, and is sensing everything that’s going on in your body.”
Shah Selbe adds, “We’re in their environment, and we need to act accordingly,” with which the rest of the team emphatically agrees.
Wise advice, indeed.
The team also speaks about the technical challenges of running their operation so far from civilization, yet still needing to utilize technology—such as a satellite link to participate in the Hangout.
Be sure to show your support for our Okavango team on Twitter (#okavango14), on our Field Notes blog, Facebook, the Adventure Science Twitter page and Google+. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in future Okavango expeditions!