The Climb to Akeley's Grave

Artists for Conservation

November 27,2010 - After a night with little sleep, we headed out for Virunga National Park and our climb up Mount Mikeno. We met Jaques Iyanya, MGVP staff veterinarian, who assisted us in acquiring the food and water and other basic supplies (like toilet paper) for our one night of camping at Kabara (Akeley's old gorilla camp). We rendezvoued with the team who had facilitated our visit to the Park with ICCN, (the DRC National Park Service) Director Emmanuel de Merode. They were Senior Park Wardens Innocent,  and Park Wardens Sekibibi Bareke Desiree, and Sebahame NzaRubara.

DRC - Democratic Republic of Congo

Artists for Conservation

November 26, 2010 - We all were a bit apprehensive in crossing the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but the MGVP staff Dr. Jaques Iyanya, Molly Feltner and Julie Grist facilitated our crossing. Though the border immigration official demanded a crossing payment, our MGVP friends convinced them otherwise.

Conquering Heroes

Artists for Conservation

This is not my story. I sat on the sidelines and watched. This is the story of two very brave men who risked everything to prove that art could affect conservation. I am proud to count Jeffrey Whiting and Stephen Quinn of Artists for Conservation as my friends and colleagues.

Mission Accomplished

Artists for Conservation

11/29 -The mission is accomplished! We found Carl Akeley’s grave and the original site of the AMNH Mountain Gorilla diorama.

AFC received a call from Steve Quinn and Jeffrey Whiting still in DRC on Mount Mikeno just after 8:30PM (PST) on the satellite phone.

Message to all: We spent a 3rd night on the mountain to accomplish our mission. We had a difficult time finding Akeley’s original grave site.

Coordinates: At 3330 meters at 01.48715″S, 029.43087″E


Artists for Conservation

11/25 -  Hello all... Well, I need to give you an update on the baby Mountain Gorilla in Uganda.  He's (it's a little male) still has the snare around its neck. Mike Cranfield came back from Uganda late last night and gave us the full story. If you recall, Mike had darted the baby's mother and when she went down, the baby's father became alarmed, charged and grabbed his son to carry him to safety. He then led his troupe as far away as he could. Mike and the park trackers were able to revive the mother and catch her up to the retreating silverback.

Day 5 - Trek to DRC

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition 11

11/26 - Great sleep and shower this morning... Not only was it HOT, but it came out of the showerhead in more than a dribble. Today is a big day. We'll be travelling across the Rwanda-DRC border to Goma to spend the night. Tomorrow we climb Mount Mikeno.

Day 4 – A meeting with Kwitonda

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition 11

11/24 – It has been very difficult getting Internet access at the hotel, and logistically difficult to go anywhere else. This morning I woke up with power in the room, running water and conflicting emotions. I urgently needed to connect with someone at MGVP for an invitation letter that would complete my DRC-Rwanda return visa application, and I was to depart in only a day. I would then need to put my faith in the burocracy of Rwanda immigration services.

Day 3 - Golden Monkeys

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition 11

Up bright and early today to see the Golden Monkeys. A little frustrating as we had sketchy access to internet connection (was unable to post anything before losing the connection). We had a trickle of cold water for shower and toilets that take 4 hours to refill for the next flush. Interesting. I had a great sleep though. No matter... we were headed for a hike in the foothills of the volcano Sabinyo. The skies cleared by late morning and we even caught a disant glimpse of Mt. Mikeno, that we will be climbing on Saturday.

Day 2 - Touch-down in Kigali

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition 11

November 23: Our first 24 hours in Rwanda was also a first lesson in flexibility. We arrived at Kigali airport just shy of midnight, Kigali time. A short walk across the tarmack we couldn't help but notice that the temperature and humidity were a perfect comfort level, jet exhaust aside.

Golden Monkeys

Artists for Conservation

Golden Monkeys - Wednesday - 11/24 - Today was a phenomenal day! After an early rise we set out across vast open agricultural fields with morning sunlight raking the high peaks of all the Virunga volcanoes surrounding us. Sabinyo's jagged peaks were glorious in the morning sun. We hired a driver, Pascal, who picked us up in a nice Toyota Landcruiser and chauffeured us in search of an animal endemic to the Virunga massif.

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