Niassa on INSTAGRAM

Campo was the first lion we ever collared in Niassa. We darted him in the open area behind our camp, hence the name, in 2005.  Following Campo or LICM01 (Lion Capture Male 1) was the start of our work to understand what was happening to the lions in Niassa and why there were so few. 
In April 2007, we  were spending days with him trying to determine his movements and prey. He often caught small animals like warthogs, porcupine and even an antbear (aardvark) on one occasion. On the 9th of April, we  were pleased  when he decided to rest under the overhang of an unusual rock so that we could stop bashing through the bush off road for a few hours and take a break.  We hadn't been here before. As we settled in for a day of waiting for the  lion to do something, we started to notice brown marks on the rock above him. The more we looked with binoculars as he slept, the less they looked like wasp nests. They seemed to be too symmetrical. It didn't seem possible - were these paintings? We had been looking for paintings in the rocky outcrops on the inselbergs for years with no luck. Had a lion found them for us? There was no way for us to check until he moved off. Eventually just before  5pm, he woke up, started roaring and finally moved off. We abandoned our work of lion tracking and raced over to get our first up close look and there they were. So beautifull and clearly drawn with a human hand but not like the San paintings we were more familiar with further south.  We took photos of what we had found and sent them off to the Rock Art Institute in South Africa who later confirmed that these were examples of Batwa geometric art  and might be as many as 4000 years old!  These were the first records of paintings for Niassa Reserve. Since then a few other sites have been found, always in beautiful spots,  often with a view and connected to old smelting sites and always incredibly precious. For us, these images of a lion under the rock art are incredibly precious - truly a once in a life time photo and the  perfect symbol of Niassa. People have always lived in this wilderness. #lion #batwa #rockart #gifts #patience #conservation #niassareserve  #ANAC
Campo was the first lion we ever collared in Niassa. We darted him in the open area behind our camp, hence the name, in 2005. Following Campo or LICM01 (Lion Capture Male 1) was the start of our work to understand what was happening to the lions in Niassa and why there were so few. In April 2007, we were spending days with him trying to determine his movements and prey. He often caught small animals like warthogs, porcupine and even an antbear (aardvark) on one occasion. On the 9th of April, we were pleased when he decided to rest under the overhang of an unusual rock so that we could stop bashing through the bush off road for a few hours and take a break. We hadn't been here before. As we settled in for a day of waiting for the lion to do something, we started to notice brown marks on the rock above him. The more we looked with binoculars as he slept, the less they looked like wasp nests. They seemed to be too symmetrical. It didn't seem possible - were these paintings? We had been looking for paintings in the rocky outcrops on the inselbergs for years with no luck. Had a lion found them for us? There was no way for us to check until he moved off. Eventually just before 5pm, he woke up, started roaring and finally moved off. We abandoned our work of lion tracking and raced over to get our first up close look and there they were. So beautifull and clearly drawn with a human hand but not like the San paintings we were more familiar with further south. We took photos of what we had found and sent them off to the Rock Art Institute in South Africa who later confirmed that these were examples of Batwa geometric art and might be as many as 4000 years old! These were the first records of paintings for Niassa Reserve. Since then a few other sites have been found, always in beautiful spots, often with a view and connected to old smelting sites and always incredibly precious. For us, these images of a lion under the rock art are incredibly precious - truly a once in a life time photo and the perfect symbol of Niassa. People have always lived in this wilderness. #lion #batwa #rockart #gifts #patience #conservation #niassareserve #ANAC
Over the next 14 days we are going to choose some of our favourite pictures and their stories  to share - amongst all the other news and craziness. This is number 1. 
It was the wet season of 2006/2007. Keith, Oscar, Jomba  and I were camped at the base of Mantindano Mtn on the Lugenda River  inside Niassa Reserve for the whole of the wet season. We had one roof top tent, one canvas tent and we got very wet.  There was no way to move around as the roads were impassable in most areas. We read books, photographed, wrote reports, and stayed connected through our HF radio and bushmail. We also managed to capture many wet season moments.  On the 15th of March, a young boy came running into camp to tell us that Mzee Matakiwa, an elder we knew well had been dragged into the water out of his canoe by a large crocodile that was caught in his fishing net.  The boy had a length of palm tied together to show us how long the crocodile was.  He wrestled with the crocodile in the water and finally managed to kill it using the  homemade knife he kept strapped around his waist. He asked us to come quickly.  We walked in with Oscar to meet with him, not sure what we would find.  He was in great spirits.  He had kept the crocodile to show us and recount story. He didn't seem shocked and we were amazed by how calm he was. Once we had recorded it all, he threw the croc back into the water and  went back to fishing.  Alone with his son.  Mzee Matakiwa grew up in Niassa Reserve, he lived for fishing and was one of the most important and experienced fishermen on the Lugenda River. He passed away a few years later after a long illness.  These stories from the elders keep his memory alive - the voices of Niassa's people who are intimately connected to this place, their home. #conservation #community #lifeaaafishermen #stories #amazingpeople #niassareserve #fishing #fishermen #crocodile #bringprepared #keepingitreal  #mozambique #dugout
Over the next 14 days we are going to choose some of our favourite pictures and their stories to share - amongst all the other news and craziness. This is number 1. It was the wet season of 2006/2007. Keith, Oscar, Jomba and I were camped at the base of Mantindano Mtn on the Lugenda River inside Niassa Reserve for the whole of the wet season. We had one roof top tent, one canvas tent and we got very wet. There was no way to move around as the roads were impassable in most areas. We read books, photographed, wrote reports, and stayed connected through our HF radio and bushmail. We also managed to capture many wet season moments. On the 15th of March, a young boy came running into camp to tell us that Mzee Matakiwa, an elder we knew well had been dragged into the water out of his canoe by a large crocodile that was caught in his fishing net. The boy had a length of palm tied together to show us how long the crocodile was. He wrestled with the crocodile in the water and finally managed to kill it using the homemade knife he kept strapped around his waist. He asked us to come quickly. We walked in with Oscar to meet with him, not sure what we would find. He was in great spirits. He had kept the crocodile to show us and recount story. He didn't seem shocked and we were amazed by how calm he was. Once we had recorded it all, he threw the croc back into the water and went back to fishing. Alone with his son. Mzee Matakiwa grew up in Niassa Reserve, he lived for fishing and was one of the most important and experienced fishermen on the Lugenda River. He passed away a few years later after a long illness. These stories from the elders keep his memory alive - the voices of Niassa's people who are intimately connected to this place, their home. #conservation #community #lifeaaafishermen #stories #amazingpeople #niassareserve #fishing #fishermen #crocodile #bringprepared #keepingitreal #mozambique #dugout