First Contact

by Adam the Cameraman, in Uganda
7th December, 2009

It was great to be back on a Vet Adventures trip. I had to miss Peru and Nepal as I was busy on another project, but I was in safe hands as Simon the Cameraman did a great job.
First day of shooting meant catching a small speedboat from Entebbe over Lake Victoria to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, where Luke was to experience the great work being done by the team who rescue, rehabilitate and return chimpanzees back into the wild.

That morning the skies had opened and it had rained cats and dogs, with a few rumbles of thunder and a lightning strike on our hotel!! By the time we were on the one and a half hour speed boat cruise over the lake the sun had burnt off the dark clouds and we were all excited on the prospect of filming chimpanzees for the first time.

Lawrence, the manager of the project, showed us around the sanctuary; we filmed Luke feeding the chimps from a platform and then enter one of the enclosures and met some of the young chimpanzees that had still to be introduced into the larger community of adult chimpanzees.

Not having filmed chimps before I wasn’t sure what they would do to us and the camera for that matter. Despite them being young, between 2 to 5 years of age, they definitely packed a punch and have sharp fangs to boot!

As time went on we got more comfortable to the surroundings and the chimps seemed to warm to us, especially the smallest one Rambo, aptly named as he tore around, throwing himself onto everyone, slapping each one of us on the back of our legs as he raced past. A real “cheeky monkey”!

Before any primatologist decides to scold me, I must remind everyone that chimps are not monkeys, they are primates.

The bright red sun descended behind lake Victoria as millions and millions of fruit bats came out of a distant forest covering the sky in small dots. What a spectacular end to a great day.

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