Jungle heat, jungle medicine, ant attack, respect… and Attenborough warns again

It’s the back end of monsoon but there’s no rain, nothing to break a humidity that is incredibly energy sapping. Yesterday after only a couple of hours in the jungle I staggered back to my motorbike, I couldn’t believe how drained I was. At a Range Post I could see the sunken eyes of a game scout who leads anti-poaching patrols, he was shattered, spare a thought for those teams working in these conditions for just a few dollars a day.

I’m super vigilant about treating leech and insect bites these days to ward off infection. A few years ago I had to do long days in monsoon getting things started at the Leopard Refuge Station, I would only wear a pair of shorts, it was just so hot, I got hammered by mosquitoes and others, in the end my friend Ian made the trip from Pokhara with medical supplies which got me through. I usually use a menthol based treatment for bites but during one of their recent trips here (pre covid of course) Bernd and family supplied me a couple of tubes of the medicine you can see in the image. It’s awesome and for the first monsoon ever I haven’t had to use bandages. A couple of days ago while attending a camera I was a bit blurry eyed because of the heat and some red ants decided I was worth checking out, I had to run to a nearby stream to get rid of them, got stuck in mud getting out of it, ah the fun and games of the jungle. The German medicine worked a treat though and although red ants aren’t as vicious as bull ants in Australia (they really are bastards, the bull ants I mean, not Australians) they do give a nasty bite. There’s also another tiny ant prevalent at the moment, it likes my white boy skin too but once again, that medicine has been great for everything including my old buddies, leeches.

Speaking of health it’s just so disappointing the amount of people who won’t wear masks or respect social distancing. Sure neither of these two things will stop the virus on their own but they do really help and it also comes down to respect for others. Here in Nepal it’s easy to see why authorities are really worried about what will happen when winter hits, I suspect it’s going to be a hell of a time for the country, I’m not sure people will start showing more respect. It’s a global issue, mask wearing etc, there are just still so many people who simply do not understand what a pandemic is and how covid has transmission rates far higher than different types of flu.

In many ways the lack of understanding isn’t surprising. The Living Planet report a few days ago detailed what so many in the wildlife conservation sector have been warning, biodiversity is getting smashed. It was interesting last night getting messages from around the world about David Attenborough’s latest effort to give warning. I feel sorry for people like Attenborough, Jane Goodall etc, their frustration is showing, it’s this whole issue of when will people understand. It’s frustrating for all of us who are trying and as a 60 million year old who is one of them I’m going to come right out and say it … we told you so.

It’s not too late but it’s getting close to that, I’m hopeful but worried. If people can’t even have the sense to wear a mask, use social distance and understand why there are such problems as a coronavirus caused by our breakdown with nature then the future is very uncertain.

I’ll have a update later this month as Living with Big Cats, #AntiSnare and Ecosystem Reboot evolve in our covid world as well as more soon about an orca and a leopard.