20 JANUARY 2011 1 of 2


DILI, DILI DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE IV: A TASTE OF FIELDWORK

The first appointment of the day was when Hinrich and I, with Benny as interpreter, visited the Department of the Environment to discuss the relocation of several captive Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), back to the wild. When we began work in Timor-Leste, we established relationships with several departments whose portfolio included environmental issues, and they have asked for our help on several occasions.

Once back at the Timor Lodge Hotel Hinrich had other expedition administration to deal with so I took all the rest of the team, including Zito from the Jets, out to the Comoro River for an introduction to herping in Timor-Leste, not that Caitlin, Scott or Zito needed any such introduction, having been on three, two and two previous phases respectively. For the remaining five in the Troopie, this was their first taste of fieldwork on this project.

We drove up the Comoro River, which is mostly a dry river bed with a narrow river at this time of year, past dozens of men back-breakingly mining river sand for construction, until we reached the same village where we collected in 2010. Here we split into two groups. I asked Robert to take the first group, with Caitlin and Zito as experienced hands, and Paul and Joanna as novices, up the slopes into the banana plantations, while I took the second group, with Scott back for his second phase, and newbies Kyle and David, out onto the open, coarsely vegetated river valley. Both groups where accompanied by willing children from the village who were keen to find reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

Comoro River valley looking inland

Scott and the children around the hut where we captured three large
Tokay geckos,
Gekko gecko

Group one on the road:
Scott, Kyle and David

Group two in the bananas
Robert, Caitlin and Paul
Click on image to enlarge

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