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

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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.

Hotel Rwanda

Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition 11

11/23/10 - Woke up well rested this morning to the songs of bulbuls and grey sparrows around the hotel in Kigali. After breakfast, we hired a driver, named Alex, a duel citizen of Rwanda and DRC to drive us up to Rweungeri in his vintage landrover.

Passing out of Kigali, we stopped at the Hotel des Milles Collines, the hotel made famous in the movie "Hotel Rawanda". You know, all the people we have met and dealt with are so sweet and kind. It is hard to imagine anything bad ever having happened here.

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