|snake that fell out of tree hunting bush bear
|one of the few goats to return
|monkey purse and dried meat...ready for the soup
|scales of the green mamba
|green mamba 7ft long from next door
|gloating over the bush cat....Is this what all little girls do?
|carrying a cobra home for the soup
Because of the rain forest, Lofa is filled with animals.. The forest supports trails of driver ants, enough bugs to drive
an entomologists nuts leopards, deer, panguila and even elusive elephants. There is a great story about a special
herd of elephants. When I lived in Guinea, I lived on the edge of the same forest and farmers would talk about refugee
elephants. In fact one day they complained to the local government official that they needed to kill these particular
elephants because they would trample over their rice fields, eat their ripe bananas, knock down walls of their huts as
they scratched their backs and even kill hunters in the forest who would accidentally surprise them. The Prefet asked
"Well how are these refugee elephants?".. The farmer replied that "theses are not the elephants that we know in the
bush because our elephants pay attention the fetishes we l;eave behind in the forest to protect our land.. These
trouble elephants don't care about our signs." "And besides" they said "we heard rumors about a villagers on the
Liberian side of the forest who were transformed into elephants by the local zoe in order to escape the attacking
rebels. But, the Zoe was shot dead before he could change himself into an elephant. Now refugees are stuck in
elephant bodies. They enter our land so that they can be close to humans but destroy things because they're pissed
that they can't have the life that they use to have." In Liberia there is a similar story but instead of refugee elephants
they are rebel elephants.
Snakes are another small worry. Because towns had been taken over by the forest snakes loved to hang out next
door. A green mamba was found in the neighboring ruins. In another ruin that I had found during the one of my
explorations, I was showing a friend how the vines had recreated a ceiling when another green mamba slither above
our heads. We ran. A cobra sprung out of a hole in our palaver hut and was quickly flogged. A smaller cobra found
itself in one of my colleague bed rooms. The guards would show me another snake that they killed after it fell out of a
palm tree hunting bush bear. I spent many hikes carrying a big stick and whispering "no sake, no snake, no snake"
as a way to placate my stupidity of meandering through high grass..
One thing is for certain Liberians LOVE their bush meat. There wasn't an animal I didn't know that they wouldn't. eat.
From green grass hoppers to red deer they loved in the pot. I was once talking with a two colleagues of mine, one
from Tanzania and another women who was Liberian. The Tanzanian was talking about how in Tanzania there are so
many monkeys that they come in to peoples houses to steal food from the kitchen. My Liberian friend, who is a sweet
women and does social work for a living, turned to him and said "if one of those monkeys came into my kitchen I'd
shut all the doors and throw him in the pot." Unfortunately because of the war there were very few domestic animals
left. For the first 3 months, I didn't even see a cow grazing.
The guards at our office knew I liked to take picture so they often inform me when some one at the gate had an animal
to sell or staff would force the car to a screeching halt to buy the latest meat being carried to the market so I was
always able to take a snap. A good portion of the animals they showed me I had never seen before and I grew up on
PBS "Nature" . When I asked what they were it was often bush bear, bush dog or bush this or bush that, names you
might not be able to locate in a reference book.
|spider got a beautiful prey