Biting backOne of the field techniques I've learnt over the years included camera-trapping tigers. It was a rewarding, yet relentless experience. Sometimes, we would have to hike fast in the jungle to place cameras AND get out before dark. Talk about pressure, especially when you had to hike over 10 kilometres JUST to get to one spot - I'm not even talking about walking back!
Never got to see any tigers in the field, though - it was probably for the best!! However, I will never forget the day that I saw siamangs for the first (and last) time in the field. Or stumbling onto an elephant grave.
Getting the pictures developed was the fulfilling part of the fieldwork (afterall, it is data!). It's amazing to see what kind of wildlife had passed through the exact same spot where you had placed the camera. There is more life moving in the jungle than you think.
This photograph is from an article in New Scientist: Tiger snaps back at hidden camera. I wonder, the tiger probably decided to give the camera a little nibble to see whether it was harmless or not. This particular incident is pretty unusual although it's not uncommon to end up with a photo-set of macaques tugging at the camera, or an argus pheasant trying to entice the camera with a mating dance. It makes you smile, and gives you one of the little pleasures of work. This line of work can be immensely frustrating, and test your patience and faith, but at the end of the day, I feel that I can say, I am doing something worthwhile.
And this matters.