ML 161647


Sound Effects :55 - 1:12 Play :55 - More
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Swimming, Splashing water  








Interview 16:43 - 42:33 Play 16:43 - More
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Prithiviraj Fernando  







Also part of this interview is Sanjayan Muthulingam; 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami  

Environmental Recording 44:04 - 46:56 Play 44:04 - More
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Grassland ambient  








Interview 1:06:52 - 1:18:04 Play 1:06:52 - More
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Sanjayan Muthulingam  







Field biology; Sri Lanka natural history  

Indian Peafowl -- Pavo cristatus 1:36:22 - 1:36:23 Play 1:36:22 - More
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NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
28 Jan 2005

  • Sri Lanka
    Southern Province
  • Yala National Park
  • 6.372778   81.516944
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Spaced Omni Stereo to 0:14:36; Decoded MS Stereo from 0:14:36 to end

Show: Sri Lanka/Tsunami
Engineer: Michael Schweppe
Date: 1/28/05

San = Sanjayan Muthulingam
PF = Prithiviraj Fernando
EA = Elizabeth Arnold
MS = Michael Schweppe

Spaced omnis (going for a swim with Michael)


Water and birds 00:33 language
00:40 splash into the water and out of the water
00:51 splashing, stomping through the water (hear waterfall or river moving in the background.
1:29 I unplugged them here, cause I didn't want them to get into the mic check¿

148 say your name

ms- leave that there! Swimming time!

2:09 MS goes for a swim, guides talk a bit

2:30 swimming off mic but no talking over it
245 guides speak

305 scratching sound brief/rattle? Michael returns to shore side swimming continues

341 car arrives

400 car sounds and hushed speaking of guides, water running in background and birds
452 grass brush brief

512 mic is tapped

525 guides are chuckling
543 water and guides chatting continues

ms- comes back to shore, stomping through the water
to 653 (possibly no guides speaking?)

850 ms- turn it yeah, thank you.
Elizabeth, Michael, thank you.
1000-1115 good ambi, water, little/no speaking
1259 bigger splash
1340 swimming strokes 1356 no strokes
(guides speaking again.)
1426 Mike ends AMBI

1436 MS- m.s. stereo Thursday afternoon 1227

new pick up in the car.
Ea- you see him>
No he's on the road right now?

m- oh right now?

Ea- that thing on the road is a crocodile!
ms- I was looking at the one out there.

Ea- that's too big, we have to turn around. We aren't going to go over him are we? Lets not ask him to move. Woah.

ms-his friend was in the ring¿

ea- yea yea I see¿

ms- want to try a shot?

Wa- oh my god, yikes

Ms- Its too late I think

Ea- ehhh, (car navigating)

1605 (PICKUP)
walking new setting, hard ground, beeping with each step and wind noise, bird call in the distance

ea- hows it going with you guys?

SAN- its great , it's the grasslands. So you can spot it, so you sort of know what it looks like, I mean I would have known its something when I was up there, but its good that I am down here with him and he can show me exactly how far the wave came and see exactly the cut point where the water comes up and receded. We're starting to get a little regeneration now, but you can still see where it was and that's really good.
Um,. So what we came out here to do in terms of that, is good

Ea- so you're done.
That's good.

SAN - by the vehicles?

Ea- you were ahead of us, we went to the wrong place

You guys pulled out, we never saw you again. We just got here, so I was just wondering what was up. 1755

SAN - want to take a little walk with us?

Ea- I would love to do that

SAN - probably just a few minutes

Ea- well that's fine.

I just, you know, I know if you have any problems talk with us that's fine.

wind noise
ea- I know that you are very busy¿if its alright

ea- what did you guys just do?

SAN - I think we should just do what I just did

Ea- whatever you can give us.

1853 EA
How long have you been here at this park doing your work?

PF- we've been here about a week

1905 Ea- but you usually do elephant work right?

g- yeah, we've been working in this area for the past 12 years. I started with my thesis work and continuing since then. I was a away but continued to do the fieldwork and since this year I have been back for this.

Ea- an this last week what have you been doing in terms of the tsunami

g- what we have been trying to do is basically just map the area of inundation and then to get some idea of the impact of the tsunami on the vegetation. The idea is to try and decide what we need to do or the scale of the impact is, and what we need to do from here on.

Ea- whats- that's going to take quite some time with you

g- what we are doing now is just the initial assessment. And that we have basically completed the mapping part of it of block one. (shells rustling louder with walking) Sanyajan and then can complete block two and that will give us an idea what the (something) is so that is what we would like to do with the initial assessment of the areas impacted. Also this is causing such (hard to hear) that we should really use the term damage.
2046 Rather than impact , my opinion is that this is something that happens regularly every hundred years or so but its still a natural phenomenon. inundation by sea water is not an every day occurrence this far in but its still a natural phenomenon and all these trees that are torn down will benefit some species. And it will be interesting to see what happens, so initially we though that everything would be dead. And we thought it would be a primary succession colonized by protective species which then over the years it would lead up to what was the significant (word?) forest. But basically what we are seeing is that everything is regenerating, that there doesn't seem to be so much of a fluctuation so much of recovery and regeneration all the trees that are torn down if they have roots in the ground they are sprouting. The grass is sprouting.
but there might be changes in species composition. Some grass species might come up better than other grass species. Things that are a bit more soil tolerant. So these things are things we would like to monitor over the long term.

2115 San- what I was thinking while pythora was telling me some of this stuff, was that I can clearly see the point he was making that this event occurs. But I am not all convinced that it occurs with enough frequency in any area for things to adapt to it. So the response that you are seeing, and this where , this is what we were discussing or arguing about, in order for the adaptation to occur, depends on the severity of the impact and the frequency of it occurring. If you go out and shoot every elephant in sight, then elephants are not going to adapt to it because the severity is to high and the frequency is too rare. One time and your are dead and that's it. So I think what you are seeing in terms of the restoration, the regeneration, after talking to him I am starting to see this land differently uh I mean he is pointing on things that are regenerating rather than succession. And I agree with him right now, but my question is- I think what you are seeing, the plants regenerating because it has adapted to being pushed over.
something coming through and knocking it over. And certainly the size of this is unusually. And even if the tsunami comes through every 50 or hundred years I am not at all sure its going to hit this point. Exactly right because it seems like the topography of the coast side is what creates a barrier to all this and it would depend obviously where the tsunami was generated from and also what the coast side topography looked like. And that's changing. Sand dunes are moving constantly,

g- sure that I don't mean that particular species could be adapting to tsunamis but I think it could be one of the component s of basically evolution when you take an evolutionary time scale. The time scale of 100 years is obviously nothing.
Lets take a weird example, lets say inundation by salt water this far in is pretty common, but lets say there was some mutation of a certain tree that made it tolerant to inundation

p- to salt.

g-then that would keep it from being impacted and maybe it has when it gets inundated it has an advantage over other trees. And then it would have an evolutionary advantage and it would take over the area and move closer to the sea.


g- I am not saying that is what happens but you could have impacts that might be positive even on an evolutionary scale.


25:30 PF, speaking over beeping-With things like this that are happening. Umm, sure, again, I agree with you that the landscape changes, but also to some extent, because what you see here is that the impact is mostly in the bays. And on the um, its on the, well, I'm not sure what exact direction, lets see, this is, that's gonna be south, so, that line would be on on the north sort of the north east.. The sand dunes are on the northeast line basically, the sand dunes are formed by the southwest monsoon, and not by the current monsoon, which is the northeast. SO always the sand dunes are on that side of the bay, and uh, the line inland from the sand dunes was protected and it will always be there. And it channels the force of the wave on to this side. So it will always be this side that is impacted in the bays, and I am pretty sure you probably know more about this than me, but there must be offshore formations which probably direct the wave. Or have an impact on how it comes to shore. 26:50

26:50 San -Yeah I mean, the proof people are saying sort of that diego gracia (SP???), which are these islands right in the middle of the Indian Ocean,

26:55 EA-yea

26:56 San - were protected because of undersea mounds, so clearly that plays a big role, but it also depends where this wave was propagated from.

27:03 PF-sure, absolutely.

27:04 p-umm, I mean, this is exactly the kind of reason I think

27:08 p, now speaking over radio speech-you want to look

27:10 MS-Can you turn that off?

27:12 p-Can I turn that radio off? Thank you.

27:16 MS-Thanks

27:17 EA-You know whether or not its its adaptable or not, if you could go back one step for me. So if you see something like this here, right, if you didn't, you didn't find anything like that in places like this, what would that mean?

27:34 PF-That there's nothing growing back again?

27:36 EA-No roots, you haven't found any roots, you haven't found any grasses or anything, what would that mean?

27:41 g-well, that it had a pretty severe impact on the place.

27:45 EA-and you are seeing this, so that's in your mind, what?

27:52 PF-well, basically that things are regenerating from where they were. So a lot of them were impacted, a lot of them sort of died back, but they are coming back, its not that everything was destroyed. They were impacted and some parts of the trees died, but they are coming back. They don't have to, things don't have to start from scratch. Again.28:15

28:16 EA-How does that affect anything um in terms of what people thing they should do in terms of restoration? Does it change it?

28:26 PF-I would say it does. Umm, my, I dunno, my point is that this a natural event, so there is an impact, but I wouldn't even think of it as damage so much as impact. Umm, so there will be a response to that, now, whether we should do restoration and interfere in that process, I think its dependent on what we find, now for example if the area that was impacted was going to cause a threat to maybe a particular species of plants or a particular species of animals, then we might need to think of whether we need to interfere in that and change things so these would not be uh, would not die off or something like that but if there is no such severe threat to a particular group, or particular habitat, then I would imagine that you would want to study the process of recovery and see what happens naturally because we have never been able to study this. The last tsunami was in 1883 in this area and uh, there wasn't much science back then. 28:48

28:49 EA-and it probably didn't come this far in? did it?

29:51 PF-We don't know

29:52 EA-We don't know

29:53 g-there were ten (??? Very hard to understand) foot waves recorded in Hambutura. One person died and this time a thousand people died, because there are many thousands living on the shore basically, at that time there weren't.

30:06 EA-but right now, you've only been doing this a week, right? There's still a lot to see and assess. What's been most surprising to you that you've found.

30:16 PF-The recovery. That things, when you look at it, like San said, it looks just blasted. Its amazing how uh, things recover, I saw a big tree that is washed up from somewhere, right on the beach, it completely torn up, the roots and just the stumps of the branches are there, and its buried ¾ in the sand. It's about 2 feet diameter tree, and it's probably, its pretty amazing how resilient things are. That's what really amazed me, we thought it would be complete everything is dead, that's what it looks like when you actually hit the central area and you see everything just down on the ground, but its amazing, but they are really very resilient. 31:06

31:07 EA-It's a natural cycle, as you say, and these things occur, and on huge periods of time, so its hard for us to understand that it's a natural cycle, but yet we probably aren't going to know for a long time, I mean, perhaps there is an impact on an animal, or a plant further in, or that we wont know about for quite some time.

31:26 PF-So, I mean, I'm not saying it is a cycle that happens, I'm saying it's a possibility uh, with impact to species, we will only know once we look into it. SO once we know the actual area, as impacted, what kind of impact there is, and we monitor them, then we might be able to figure out, OK, there is this effect. On this animal, for example, let's say this whole extent of grass, the species compositions changes and the new grass is not eaten by any of the animals that is grazing around here. SO maybe we want to go ahead and burn it and introduce a new grass, but if we know, we can only do that if we know that. Other than that, if we just want to go and clean up things, then I think we might end up doing more damage than good.

32:22 San-might you just, you were telling me about this example about land snails. Which I thought was actually a really great landscape scale perspective of how to look at this and impact on a species. So I wonder if you might just repeat the land snail stuff.

32:36 PF-well yeah, basically, what we were discussing was that the scale of it changes, even between species. If you take an elephant, the area impacted, well, generally it about one and a half to one kilometer gone inside and two to three kilometers wide. That the patch you get here, now, so there are about four or five of these along a coast of twenty, thirty kilometers. From elephant's point of view, it's nothing, because elephant's home range is a hundred square kilometers. SO even if this was entirely within the home range, its just twenty, thirty square kilometers, it could shift it slightly, but there are lots of land snails, land snails which are dead, because land snails cannot tolerate salt water. So the whole, all the land snails in these inundated areas would get killed off. So now, from a land snail's point of view, it's a massive disturbance. So this area probably basically would have been clean of all the land snails, now if we monitored, we could see, how the colonization happens, and how it happens. Same with perhaps with frogs, we expected that there wouldn't be any of the frogs, any frogs, in the water holes that were impacted, but strangely we are seeing even the ones that seem to be a little bit saline, which is pretty contrary to what one would think. We are finding frogs, so and also, two days after the tsunami, it rained quite a bit. So that probably already washed out some of the salt. 34:12

34:13 San-There's a cyclone that came through there.

34:14 PF-yeah, it very very heavy rains. I think almost immediately, the next day or something.

34:19 EA-Ten years down the road, what are you going to be most interested in looking at?

34:27 PF-Ideal would be, ideally we would monitor some of these patches and compare them with patches the same size in an area which is not impacted, I would imagine that ten years down the road it'll be hard to see the difference.

34:40 EA-Really?!

34:42 PF-I would imagine so. But that's something that we would really like to know, how long the actual recovery will be.

34:48 EA-And that's something we don't know?

34:49 PF-That's exactly it. Yeah, we don't know.

34:52 EA-So this is an opportunity?

34:53 PF-Yeah, I think it's a great opportunity to study the effect of salt water inundation uh, it's not something you can easily do in this scale.

35:02 SAN-And I, and I'll take a bet with you that ten years from now, we could tell that this place was whacked by the tsunami.

35:06 EA-I think we have a disagreement here. And what is the wager?

35:12 SAN-I dunno, what is the wager? [all laugh] A really good gin and tonic at the best hotel in Colombo. Something like that.

35:16 PF-Sounds good.

35:18 EA-IS this gonna change what you're, you're, your work? What you're studying? I mean I know you've

35:24 PF-Not really, I've, uhh, This we just wanted to look at the effects of it, because it seemed like a very interesting thing that happened. Um, but we will continue with our program which you know is basically about elephant conversation. Interesting thing is that we had 2 elephants we are tracking with satellite collars, and we have locations every 4 hours, none of them responded to the tsunami, we have a location for a female, so that indicates the movement of a herd, she was basically on a sand dune, at the seashore, at the time of the tsunami. 36:03

36:04 EA-And?

36:05 PF-And she just hung around there. Our position is at 10 o'clock, and at 10 o'clock, the tsunami impacted at 9 o clock, at 10 o'clock she was there.

36:15 EA-So she just swam it out?

36:16 PF-no, no, no the sand dune was

36:17 EA-She was on the dune

36:18 PF-the sand dune was, she was dry, she was on the dune, yeah. But she didn't run away.

36:22 EA-And what about the other two?

36:24 PF-uh, we had another animal, we have collared two animals, the other one didn't respond at all. It was about 3 km inland, but there was nothing to indicate that they sensed there was an earthquake or tsunami coming.

36:38 san-and went to higher ground?

36:39 PF-and went to higher ground, nothing.

36:41 EA-SO this was just nothing in an elephant's life?

36:46 PF-so it seems. [laughs]

36:47 EA-I mean is there any of this, pardon my, that I don't know, but watering holes inundated with salt? Or anything like that?

36:54 PF-There are a couple. But there are many watering holes here, so I don't think it really impacts the wildlife as such.

37:00 EA-and as you say, the range is so, so large.

37:04 PF-yeah

37:06 san(?) Do you think in the dry season it might change? I mean one of the thinks that we're, I mean, if this had hit in the dry season I think the impact could have been very different. If the tsunami hit in the dry season.

37:19 EA-Help me out, I don't understand why.

37:20 SAN-Ah, because we wouldn't have had the washing effect of all the water, that's already in the ground, to dilute the salt.

37:24 EA-Sure, sure

37:26 san-Umm, all the animals are going to be much more salt constrained, water constrained, anyway, in the dry season. So it really could have had an interestingly different impact both on, particularly on the animals, and I think you'd've seen that. More, if it had happened in the dry season. That's just conjecture. But my, I mean, but from your stuff on the elephants, do you think there's any change? You, would you expect any change to happen in the dry season, when these ponds start getting lower with salt content of them still high?

37:54 PF-Most likely, well, only three water holes were impacted. So there are many that were not impacted. Uh, one of them was at potnongola (SP?) the tank that was breached, so there's no water in that, but in this area water is not a limiting factor. It's abundant. SO there are many many water holes, so if one water hole is contaminated, animals need go another 500 meters, there's another one, so I really don't think it's of any consequence. 38:23

38:25 EA-Have you been walking this this last week, is that how you've been doing it? So it'll help to have them do some satellite stuff, I mean some over flight stuff.

38:36 PF-absolutely, because we tried to go into block 2, we couldn't. um, so we have not been able to look at that area at all. No one's gone there since the tsunami. So if Sanjayan and them can do some flights over that area, and then record what areas are impacted, then we can figure out what we need to do. 38:54

38:55 EA-Based on what you've seen thus far, you can sort of extrapolate from

38:59 PF-that's what we are hoping we can do

39:00 EA--[laughs] OK, is there anything else that you think I should ask him?

39:04 san-well you know I think, I think we should see where the water line is on the grass, because it was good for me to see that, its such a distinct difference [footsteps in grass] Whether or not you're recording, I think its just interesting for you to see it.

39:19 EA-Yeah, yeah, no it's good.

33:22 fx-footsteps in grass

39:24 san-And you know, I mean, I can talk to you later about stuff too, but after talking to him this afternoon, especially in the vehicle we talked about this for quite a long time and we shared the same advisors actually in grad school and he's quite a well known in evolutionary biology, so this idea of adaptation and you know, uh how much genetic variation there is and how much impact there is, it's a real interesting topic and I, I would probably change my initial reaction after him pointing out things to me, so so where there was a really, well you can see here. . . where the difference is. 40:06

40:10 EA-So right where the the grass basically turns green, but look at the grasses right there too,

40:19 PF-you can see a little bit of green, even in the other areas, that's coming up, so this is one month after.

40:25 EA-It is one month, isn't it? Yeah.

40:28 SAN-But I think we're going to be able to pick that up from the helicopter. Which is the key thing and I don't think we would've picked it up two weeks from now.

40:34 EA-Right, maybe not.
40:37 SAN- right

40:38 PF-yeah, time is running out really, to look at this stuff.

40:42 SAN-Yeah. Yeah. So in that case, you know, tomorrow, when we go up in the chopper and fly the coast, that hasn't been surveyed and no one's been able to get to, it should at least enable the ground teams to get to the priority areas faster. Um, if time becomes a constraint, which, given how logistics goes around here, it probably will.

40:06 EA-How many people have been working with you? Do you have on your field crew?

40:10 PF-We have about nine

40:11 EA-nine

40:13 PF-there are some people from the wildlife department. And then the rest of our team.

40:17 EA-Is the government paying for the work?

41:21 PF-nope

41:22 EA-Who's paying for it?

41:23 PF-No body. Ourselves.

41:24 EA-Seriously?

41:25 PF-Yeah, because I mean there's no time, like, we were discussing this with San, I mean, there's no time to propose it and try to get the money. It was do it now, with what we have, or not do it.

41:39 EA-so you're doing this on your own and the people who are working with you are doing it on their own as well?

41:45 PF-Well basically we are paying them from our project.

41:47 EA-From the elephant project.

41:48 PF-yeah, yeah

41:49 EA-I see. Well, good for you.

41:53 PF-well, we'll try to do
41:54 MS-I'd like to get some ambi here.

41:56 EA-Sure

41:57 MS-oh, before we finished, so how would you like yourself identified in your, can you pronounce your name for me, for the tape?

42:03 PF-oh.

42:04 EA-Because I'll forget

42:05 PF- Prithiviraj Fernando

42:08 EA-And how should we describe you. Besides tall and handsome.

42:12 SAN-Remember, they are thinking about me, too.

42:16 PF-the tall part or the handsome part?

42:17 EA-This is your chance to be anything you want to be

42:20 PF-well, as a biologist.

42:23 EA-A biologist who is working on an elephant

42:29 PF-conservation, basically

42:31 SAN-That is so modest, its not even funny. This guy is

42:35 MS-OK, well, you can tell us

42:37 San-This guy is a doctor,

42:38 MS-Go away thank you

42:41 MS-I need, if you guys want to stay its fine, but you gotta be really quiet.

42:45 man(?)-I'll go with them.

42:46 MS-OK

42:51 MS-Thank you

43:00 MS-Alright, we want to try some ambi but they're talking. There's this amazing bird flying over head, looks like an eagle.
43:20 ambi-grassland noises (apparently including frogs, birds, water)

43:44 MS-OK, lets try again a little bit lower.

44:05 ambi-- grassland noises (apparently including frogs, birds, water, flies) good ambi

46:30 ambi-grassland noise with wind

46:52 MS-getting windy

46:58 MS-That's beautiful, thank you, it's so pretty. Ahh

47:06 MS-Which tracks? What are these?

47:09 different guide-buffalo

47:12 MS-buffalo, OK

47:13 fx-footsteps in grass

47:43 MS-How long have you worked for the park?

47:44 guide 2-Five years

47:50 MS-You like it?

47:51 guide 2-aye

47:52 MS-It's a great job

47:54 MS-So you protect tourists and so forth?

47:58 guide 2-[unintelligible]

48:59 MS-you watch, huh? Yeah

48:05 fx-MS drinks some water

48:30 ambi-walking

--now in truck--

51:00 SAN?-Have you seen, well, you've seen polar bears

51:05 EA-Yup
51:06 SAN-you've not seen European brown bears, and the blue, Himalayan blue bears.

51:11 EA-I've seen an blue bear.

51:12 SAN-yeah?

51:13 EA-I've seen a blue bear in Juneau. In the glacier. That was my first story for NPR.

51:22 SAN-They're there??

51:23 EA-There's one.

51:24 SAN-oh.

51:25 EA-There's only been one seen. I don't know if it's the same. They call it a blue bear, glacier bear.

31:35 ambi-truck

51:47 EA-Where are the, Eurasian brown bears like in Kamchatga?

51:51 SAN-Ohh, no, its in Europe. It's like uh

51:55 EA-In Europe? Where in Europe do they have them?

51:57 SAN-um, Eastern Europe, um, Poland, Romania. Romania. Fifty, fifty to a hundred in Romania.

52:08 SAN-They're trophy hunted in Romania.

52:11 EA-I was going to say, they're not protected?

52:12 SAN-but they uh put, I mean, its kinda weird you know, um what happens in Romania is the bear population is stable, and slightly growing, but they feed them. They go out and dump sacks of grain and things, like that to keep the population high so they can hunt them, and they make a ton of money when they hunt. You know, they don't hunt that many, five year, ten a year, but each one is bringing twenty, thirty thousand dollars from the fee alone. And its, its just a, it's a smaller looking, sorry looking grizzly.

52:44 EA-Oh, is it?

52:47 SAN-yeah, they're all brown bears.

52:50 continued discussion of the bears of the world
54:41 SAN-You know, its pretty amazing, because in a day, in two days, you guys saw crocodiles

54:51 EA-Leopards

54:52 SAN-Leopards

54:53 MS-two leopards

54:54 EA-- Elephants

54:55 SAN-Elephants on foot. And a black bear. While we're doing work, I mean, you're not here really doing game drives.

55:02 EA-We've gone over this. We've gone over this.

54:04 SAN-that's incredible.

54:07 MS-We've had great luck

55:12 SAN-two types of deer, wild boar, mongoose.

55:18 EA-And then, a million birds. You know, must be fifty, fifty, seventy five birds, new birds. What I, what I don't, what I find hard to reconcile is we're in this tiny country of 21 million people and I saw all those species. Still having a hard time with that. I need to explain that.

55:45 SAN-you know what? He was telling you about the elephant, um, population density because of the cultural practice on the land.

56:05 EA-Where does he live?

56:07 SAN-um, he lives in thisa (SP?) you remember that day I went by and we got out and I left a note for him? Oh, you weren't with, you were in the other vehicle. He lives in Thisa and then sometimes in Colombo. But he only moved here last year, or year, maybe and a half ago. He was in Colombia before that. Doing a post doc. [unintelligible, points out something outside truck]

56:33 EA-Oh, yeah, yeah

56:34 MS-I see it

56:37 SAN-its on your side

56:40 MS-[speaks off mic]
56:48 EA-Oh, in the tree there?

56:49 another man-well, what is it?

56:50 EA-Shrike,

56:51 man-- brown shrike

56:52 MS-Oh, yeah, oh, wow.

56:55 EA-That's a new one for me. Thank you.

55:57 SAN-he's, he's [unintelligible]

57:06 SAN-you see it?

57:07 EA-Yeah

57:08 SAN-no look, this tree. This tree, this tree, this tree

57:10EA-Well it, moved, well it

57:12 SAN-Oh, there's others?

57:13 EA/MS together-yeah¿ yeah, yeah

57:22 EA-yeah, thank you. I didn't see that, that is a nice bird

57:28 SAN-there, there goes another

57:29EA-oh, oh oh oh

57:31 SAN-Look at that. What amazing birds. Wow.

57:37 MS-I don't know what that was but they were big. What were those Sanjayan?

57:41 SAN-Malabar hornbills

57:43 MS-hornbills, yeah

57:51 SAN-They're fruit eaters

57:53 EA-oh, really?

57:56 SAN-All of those birds, most of those birds with those giant beaks are
57:59 EA-are fruit eaters? Huh.

58:00 fx-truck noise quieter, metallic noise (door opens?)

58:07 MS (off mic)-water buffalo

58:10 EA-would a crocodile take a bit out of him?

58:11 MS-I don't know.

58:13 EA (louder) - Would a crocodile take a bite out of him?

58:16 SAN-He's a big buffalo. Maybe a big crocodile would.

58:20 talking off mic

58:26 SAN-I don't think a crocodile that lives in this pond would take a bite out of him.

58:30 men-[speak foreign language off mic]

59:17 MS-this is sort of annoying

59:18 EA-what is?

59:20 MS-can't see

59:21 EA-Because you¿ where you're sitting?

59:22 MS-yeah, there's just no more seats

59:24 EA-I, I, I know, its hard to see.

59:30 ambi-truck, men speaking foreign language off mic

1:02:21 man-elephant, huh?

1:02:32 SAN-Oh, jungle fox

1:02:34 EA-oooohhh

1:02:40 EA-I haven't seen one.

1:02:41 MS-I saw him, kinda coming up

1:02:43 EA-I haven't, you've seen one?
1:02:44 MS-yeah, coming up I saw him

1:02:45 SAN-Sri Lankan endemic

1:02:46 MS-Its pretty. Tastes good for dinner too, I bet

1:02:50 SAN-Has Tim seen it now?

1:02:54 MS-dunno

1:02:56 SAN-pretty, huh?

1:02:59 MS-lovely

1:03:00 EA-they're like exotic

1:03:01 San-Chickens

1:03:02 EA-wild [unintelligible] Asian, Eurasian

1:03:27 MS-So tomorrow, what, what time is the helicopter scheduled to get here?

1:03:31 SAN-Um, I haven't talked, I only wanted to know from [??] the most important things, I didn't go through the, I will tonight, we'll all do it.

1:03:40 MS-OK

1:03:42 SAN-And we'll know, we'll know exactly who's in what vehicle, well have a back up vehicle, I'll go through, I mean,

1:03:50 MS-we're leaving camp too, right? Breaking camp?

1:03:52 SAN-Yeah, but you, yeah, yeah. You just have to hand your luggage over, they'll take it into the hotel

1:04:00 ambi-truck, MS and EA speak softly off mic

1:05:47 MS-Yeah, my back is getting pretty sore. Deer? Lets have some for dinner, little garlic.

1:06:02 EA-You know, the thing about that leopard we saw last night, it was just right in the clear.

1:06:05 MS Oh, it was perfect

1:06:08 EA-really out in the open

1:06:09 MS-unbelievable

1:06:10 EA-the sun was right on it, it was just perfect.

1:06:12 MS-perfect

1:06:15 EA-The second one was, you now, around here, in the dark, shade.

1:06:17 MS-is this, is this gloating?

1:06:19 EA - no, its not, its just, I'm sure, really really rare, rare

1:06:27 SAN-That is a rare, that, that's rare

1:06:30 ambi-truck

1:06:51 SAN-I'd love to come and do some field work and start a project on you know, leopards or elephants or sea turtles or bear, small cats,

1:07:03 EA - and so you, and the limit is that somebody with money isn't interest, the interest isn't there?

1:07:11 SAN-no, no, I, what for me to do that?

1:07:13 yeah

1:07:14 SAN-No, no I'd get bored with it in about a week.

1:07:16 EA-yeah, yeah, that's true

1:07:20 SAN-Now this is hard work, you've gotta have, like field work, patience

1:07:24 EA-I know, you've gotta be like, these are classic field biologists, aren't they? He's not a self promoter

1:07:33 SAN-pretty much, yeah

1:07:35 EA-he's totally into what he does, which is great but he needs somebody else to do all the

1:07:45 SAN-I really enjoy, um, thinking about new, asking the questions, thinking about new ideas, experimental design, and I love analyzing data, and you know, reporting on it, but I, just the patience to go through field work is like, oh, beyond me.
1:08:01 EA-yeah. Well that's why you're a generalist and not a specialist, right?

1:08:10 SAN-yeah

1:08:12 EA-no, but I always think about that because you meet scientists and you know, the specialist are always looking down on the generalists and the generalists look down on the specialists. But you kinda need both, guys, you know.

1:08:27 SAN-well you know a good generalist is someone who understands what specialist to use.

1:08:32 EA-right.

1:08:41 SAN-I mean, the, the work I do in my regular day is just so amazing, I mean, like you know you come out here and within a week I am supposed to know this, but there are other things in other places that you know, which you see in other places that you translate into this, I I find that much more interesting¿ fruit ball

1:09:15 SAN-They're spectacularly beautiful.

1:09:17 EA-gorgeous

1:09:22 SAN-they sometimes see those in AK

1:09:23 EA-get out.

1:09:26 SAN-you have a Peterson field guide? Look at it. Look under vagrants on the last page.

1:09:31 EA-Like blown off course?

1:09:33 SAN-Yeah, but not that: not that rare, they do see them, they come up from Asia some years. Aww, look at this guy.

1:10:00 EA-We need some egrets

1:10:05 people-[talking off mic]

1:10:19 MS-he's doing the mini facial

1:10:27 EA-Do you see game around, like spotted dear? Can you pretty much assume there's not leopards around? Can't assume that?

1:10:33 MS-The little guy's fishing.

1:10:35 EA-Oh, look at that. Caught

1:10:38 MS-Frog

1:10:39 EA-[laughs]

1:10:40 SAN-you see, the frog has inflated itself. To prevent the heron from swallowing.

1:10:45 EA-ohhh. How do you know that?

1:10:47 SAN-that's what frogs do

1:10:48 MS-It is really big

1:10:50 EA-that is really cool.

1:10:53 SAN-but now he can't swallow, frog is having trouble.

1:11:20 MS-did he drop him?

1:11:38 EA- Whoa

1:11:39 SAN-did you see that?

1:11:43 MS-see what?

1:11:50 EA/MS -speak softly off mic

1:12:20 MS-ah, ha ha, he almost grabbed him. He almost grabbed the uh, fly catcher

1:13:16 SAN-If you see deer who are acting very calm, if you see deer who are acting very calm, there's a pretty good chance there's not a leopard right there. Sometimes though I have seen like you know, impala, acting really calm, and then like realize that there is a leopard, like stalking them, but for the most part you know, if they're all relaxed.

1:13:55 men-speaking off mic in foreign language

1:14:10 MS/EA-speaking off mic

1:14:35 SAN-oh, ho ho ho, oh my god

1:14:41 EA-what

1:14:50 SAN-they're such insane birds
1:14:57 EA-the birds here are like Vegas show girls or something. You know. They're just like-whoo-hoo

1:15:00 SAN-I know, the peacocks, the long bills, moo poo, bee eaters,

1:16:00 SAN-I just always have to kick myself at how lucky I am that I get to work for an organization that lets me do this.

1:16:10 MS_- that's true, your getting paid to do this, that's cool. So are we.

1:16:16 SAN-I know, I know, I really think there are very few professions like that, I mean, I just look at my friends and my sister and

1:17:08 men-speak off mic in foreign language

1:17:23 MS-they're doing their dust bath now

1:17:24 SAN-Which one is it? Blue tail

1:17:36 MS-This is where we saw the croc, yes Right ahead is where we saw the croc before.

1:17:57 SAN-Look at all those egrets

1:17:58 EA-Don't you think that's a strange sight? So amazing when they're all hanging out

1:18:04 MS-So are we doing this till 7, till dark? Are we just heading back to camp?

1:18:07 SAN-no, we're heading back

1:18:10 MS-Cause if we are, I will jump in the front seat then.

1:18:12 SAN-can you stop for one minute?

1:18:26 EA-you want to hop up front, is that what you said

1:18:27 MS-oh, well, we're almost done, it's alright

1:18:29 EA-- Oh no, no go ahead. We're not, we have a ways to go, go ahead.


1:18:36 EA-We're just burning it, right? Right?

1:18:58 EA-So you became a fly fisherman in Kamchatga and now you're a birder.

1:19:02 MS-yeah, well I've been a birder a long time. Not a good one, but this is great.

1:19:06 SAN-And an elephant tracker

1:19:08 MS-Elephant tracker

1:19:11 MS-Leopard spotter, huh huh huh

1:19:16 SAN-if you can actually do that, there's big money in it. But I fear that it's impossible to spot leopards unless they want you to spot them.

1:20:26 MS-what was that about?

1:20:31 SAN-What did they do?

1:20:31 MS-Well they just, no one's gonna yield

1:20:38 SAN-yeah, they don't do the Montana wave, you know the Montana wave?

1:20:40 MS-What's that? Oh, yeah, I learned, I dated an Iowan

1:20:45 SAN-ah, its like that

1:20:47 MS-no, but I dated an farm girl once and we just had to, driving, we just had to do

1:20:55 SAN-but I think in the west you do it with this finger though. It's excellent. I just love that.

1:21:01 EA - I always know I'm someplace I wanna be when people do that.

1:21:10 MS-sure

1:21:11 EA-- You know? Cause where else do they even acknowledge you when your drive by, you know.

1:21:15 MS-well, in DC they shoot at you.

1:21:16 EA-yeah.

1:21:28 EA-yeah, there's a bumper sticker, I think in Pelican, that say Pelican People Wave Back.

1:21:37 MS-In, say again, what?

1:21:38 EA-In Pelican there's two bumper stickers. One says, it says in Pelican People Wave Back and the other one it says Pelican, it's a quaint a quaint drinking town with a fishing problem.

1:22:06 MS-Well, the first and the best leopard we saw was pretty close to camp, actually,

1:22:11 EA-Really close to camp

1:22:12 SAN-I don't think he I don't think that's what happened.

1:22:20 EA-Just about this time of night.

1:22:21 MS-Yeah

1:22:22 SAN-you never know

1:23:40 MS/EA-discuss batteries in eq

1:24:48 MS-Now we saw the leopard, the second one, right up here. Around this bend. No no no no, last night, last night.

1:25:00 SAN-Lot of prey, huh?

1:25:04 MS-Right up here, yeah.

1:25:05 EA-ah, you would be pretty fat and happy if you were a leopard in this park.

1:25:10 MS/men in truck-choppy off mic discussion

1:25:23 man in truck-he's probably drinking the water, huh?

1:25:24 MS-no, he actually crawled under the trees, actually, I'm sorry, its just a little further up, wrong bend. I was mistaken, all this damn jungle looks all alike, you know.

1:25:40 EA-tsss

1:25:44 MS-yeah, yeah, yeah, so it was right up there

1:26:18 MS-so it was right there where he was laying.

1:26:23 SAN-wow.

1:26:27 MS-We'll have to recreate it

1:26:33 SAN-Well, I've seen leopards before, I've never seen bears so

1:26:36 MS-There you go.

1:26:37 EA-Yeah

1:26:38 MS-yeah, that sloth bear was pr-etty cool.

1:26:42 SAN-weird beasts

1:26:42 MS-They eat ants, you say?

1:26:44 SAN-huh?

1:26:45 MS-they eat ants?

1:26:46 San-ants and termites, mostly.

1:26:48 MS-Termites, oh.

1:27:11 MS-here kitty kitty kitty

1:27:32 MS-rose bill? Or

1:27:33 SAN-painted

1:27:34 MS-painted

1:27:42 MS-Oh, little baby. It's so neat

1:28:12 SAN-The interesting thing is that we've been driving around and we really haven't come across elephants. Except I mean you guys did once.

1:28:18 MS-Right

1:28:19 SAN-It's not like¿ deer. And then we go for a walk in the forest and we run smack into a sleeping elephant. Go figure, you know.

1:28:28 MS-yeah, that's just incredible luck. Incredible luck

1:28:35 EA-When you see them out in the road, are they nocturnal, they come to the road at night?

1:28:40 SAN-no

1:28:41 MS-what is this?

1:28:47 SAN-Um, no, I mean they're active throughout yeah.

1:28:50 ambi-truck

1:30:15 SAN-The funny thing is, things like that, tend to happen to me. Every time I think oh my god, what are the chances and then like a couple of months later something like that will happen again, so maybe they're not that rare, those sorts of events, it depends how what you do you know.

1:30:36 MS-you've got good animal karma

1:30:37 SAN-yeah

1:30:58 SAN-you guys are lucky on the other hand.

1:30:59 EA-yeah.

1:31:01 MS-Oh, extremely lucky, are you kidding? First day in the park

1:31:04 SAN-And, and having the tape running, I mean that's just

1:31:06 MS-Oh, today? Yeah that was unbelievable, the audio gods were definitely on our side.

1:31:12 SAN-so you spend enough time and you loose enough things and you know, eventually, you get a break.

1:31:19 MS-yeah that's right. No I totally believe in the yin yang part of it. Rabbit, bunny.

1:31:25 SAN-just remeb-oh, wow. Favorite leopard food.

1:31:30 MS-yeah. You hot?

1:31:32 EA-I'm, oh, no no no

1:31:44 SAN-You know they keep peacocks in the prisons, in Sri Lanka, because if anyone is escaping in the grounds they'll call out. In Sri Lanka this is a commonly known fact. In the in the prisons, they keep peacocks, no, so if the prisoners escape they go make noise. Peacock make noise when you disturb them right.

1:32:30 MS-I'll buy it, if its true or not, I'll buy it. Oh, believe me, we ran into

1:32:35 SAN-Ask, uh, ask, maybe ask chandi

1:32:43 MS-We ran into that young lady who was up here, and who was doing, who was from Portland, went to Portland state.

1:32:53 SAN-Oregon state

1:32:55 MS-and it was like, it was a godsend because we could use her as a translator, it was really nice but it was, will you translate for us, we were totally confused, we don't know what is going on,

1:33:01 SAN-wait, now where was Chandi? At this point?

1:33:04 MS-he was, he climbed up the ladder to make a cell phone call, he climbed up the ladder to make a cell phone call and then we took off, I mean this whole thing was totally out of, we had no idea what was going on. So.

1:33:17 SAN-I though, I mean to be honest this is like the simplest task, follow the car.

1:33:22 MS-I know, and Elizabeth is [EA speaks in bg] shouting at them. Follow, follow.

1:33:26 EA-As you said, so you guys took off, and we were sitting there and I'm going, lets go, lets go and they were having this big pow-wow, one guy went and he finally came out and got a radio, at which point everybody else piled in and when we were totally, totally, totally lost and we couldn't find anybody I said, how about the radio, so they got out the radio. It was just like you were saying yesterday. I mean

1:33:48 SAN-so they got this on

1:33:52 MS-is it up at all

1:33:53 SAN-nooo. Worthless. Its on, but its worthless. Like, I'll prove to you how useless it is.

Continued conversation of uselessness, fake emergency call on radio making fun of chandi, discussion of yesterday's logistical screw ups

1:35:24 MS-Whoa, whoa, lookit these guys are fighting. Stop.

1:35:28 SAN-peacock fight

1:35:29 MS-peacock fight
1:35:32 SAN-mines bigger than yours, ha ha ha

1:35:36 EA-but they're drag queens, come on.

1:35:40 SAN-gonna be a slap fight

1:35:42 MS-yeah, I guess they're done.

1:35:44 EA, imitating-bitch

1:35:58 SAN-Its actually kind of amazing to see these things in the wild, isn't it, I mean this is just an insanely cool looking bird.

1:36:04 EA-its nuts. You know, they look like they're some, like they're in the wrong place.

1:36:13 MS-Nope.

1:36:14 fx-peacock calls?

1:36:17 SAN-wanna turn that off? Off. Off

1:36:20 fx-truck cuts out

1:36:21 fx-peacock calls,

1:36:23 ambi-frogs

1:36:44 fx-truck starts again

1:36:56 SAN-continued discussion of Chandi and the dangers of incompetence.

1:38:15 MS-what was that?

1:38:16 SAN-jungle falcon

1:38:40 SAN-more on chandi, discussing finding gps units, laser rangefinders, talking about boat ride

1:46:07 end of tape

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