In 2016 I first paddled for 7 days down the West Lunga River, which forms the western border of the West Lunga National Park, with Dorian to assess the access, activity of poachers and wildlife numbers in the park. We found a lot of poaching activity, and almost zero game, although there was evidence of small buffalo activity and elephant spoor.
This last weekend I was asked to come and film an aerial survey of the park with a helicopter whose hours were kindly donated by an American philanthropist, guided by John Stevens (John Stevens Guided Walking Safaris), and Tristan Parsons from Parsons Aviation. The objective was to locate, dart and collar two buffalo and three elephants. The operation managed to dart two buffalo, but was never able to locate the elephant in the park, after three full days of aerial surveillance. What was once known as "The Place of Elephants" in the local Lunda language, has been reduced to a remnant population that refused to be found beneath the thick Mavunda forests. Conservation Videography for me is a tangible process where I am able to relate the challenges, successes and progress, overtime, to an audience in a few minutes. From having first filmed our short expedition down the West Lunga River in 2016, to the most recent operations, the videography process has proved how much of an impact it can have on an audience. The first video raised a lot of awareness for the project, and is still being used to educate people about the project today. Partnerships with WWF, and with private donors came about as a result.
Here is the trailer of the video, full video will be out soon.