I am making a short film for WCS on their project in Keo Seima and hope to be up there in the next couple of days. I haven’t been up there in about 18 months and am very much looking forward to seeing some wildlife again. Most of my wildlife images come from this area, it’s just amazing. To give an example of just how special it is, on one occasion I saw 5 species of primates in 1 day. For the record they were, Long-tailed and Stump-tailed Macaques, Yellow Cheeked Gibbons, Black Shanked Douc Langurs and a Loris while night spotting. I don’t think you could manage that in too many places around the world. The handsome fella below is a male Black Shanked Douc Langur.
That was a special experience. I built a tree platform at the height of the rainy season in late Sept. I returned about 6 weeks later with my camera gear and early one morning set about building some camouflage around the platform. Within a few minutes a troop of Doucs appeared on the horizon a few hundred meters away. I had no time to do anything except set up my video camera, prepare the stills gear and wrap some camo material around me and the tripod legs. They must have seem me instantly because they came straight over to investigate what I was. By the time they descended on my tree I was wrapped around the camera trying to not look human. A couple of them got within 4 or 5 meters of me but I couldn’t risk turning and filming them for fear of scaring them off. The troop of 9 hung about for around 20 minutes before the alarm call went up. I found that rather amusing as I was filming an old female at the time just 12 or 15 meters away across a river. She jumps with fright at the call and looks everywhere except at me. I spent the next 10 days up that tree and got some nice shots of various birds, a fantastic recording of a pair of gibbons singing in the morning, but little else. The gibbons were odd. I arrived at the tree one morning and spent 10 minutes climbing and hauling the gear up. As soon as my guide left for the camp the gibbons started singing. They were so close. I rushed to set up my gear and was rewarded with a fantastic audio recording of them. Sadly I never saw them, they were no more than 2 trees away from me and must have watched me climb up. That was a quite an amazing experience, the only frustration was I got no stills shots of the Doucs and have to make do with the video captures you see here.
I doubt I’ll get much time to go chasing wildlife but there is plenty to see along the main road in the early morning and near to the headquarters. I might try audio playback with the gibbons near the HQ if I can find a really loud portable system to take. The only previous attempt was rather pathetic using a borrowed ipod and some fairly small portable speakers. It’s not like birds where they can come from great distances. The gibbons are very loud when they sing and have quite small ranges, so if your not loud enough the nearest groups will think you are a long way off and not bother to investigate.
It should be an interesting trip.