Ian Redmond – Lions on the tarmac

Friday 4th September

Malabo looks like a green and pleasant land – at least the bits you can see from the airport lounge! Despite telephone calls to our few contacts in Equatorial Guinea, no transit visa or any other kind of visa was forthcoming. The Director of Wildlife was unable to help, and the head of the local Conservation International office told me he had colleagues who had waited months for a visa… Fortunately, Gabon was open for business again soon – only a 24 hour delay then!

Disembarking at Libreville Airport, passengers off my flight found ourselves mingling with a squad of green-clad athletes who were the focus of TV cameras and every airport workers’ camera-phone.  The Indomitable Lions (Cameroon’s National Football Team) had arrived to take on Gabon, and the excitement was infectious.

Having had meetings with their manager to discuss a friendly game in aid of great ape conservation, I tried to strike up a conversation, but serious minders were shielding the stars from unwanted stress before the big match.  Even Geremi Njitap, who some years ago did an ACAP ad urging people to stop eating illegal bushmeat (link to video on www.4apes.com/bushmeat), was shielded from my request.  Someone who turned out to be the team doctor promised me he’d get in touch and arrange a meeting in Yaoundé next week, but with the pressure of matches in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup, I wasn’t too hopeful. (Click here to find out more about a YoG-supported Wildlife Law Enforcement project, aimed among other things at fighting illegal consumption of ape meat. You can support this project by donating!)

Crowds of Cameroon supporters cheered as I emerged from the Arrivals gate, and I wish I’d whipped out a YoG poster, but instead shot some video of the fans and got a taxi to the WCS office to make plans for the next few days.

Read Ian’s previous post here!

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2 comments on “Ian Redmond – Lions on the tarmac

  1. Natalie Gilbert on said:

    Hi Ian,

    I’m hoping to make it down to Bristol for your gorilla talks, although I’m at the other end of the county : ( I had asked the zoo to pass on my contact details as I am writing my dissertation on the gorilla and would love input from you if at all possible. It has a King Kong theme, looking at how film, literature and imagery has influenced our perception of the gorilla. If you’d be willing to offer some thoughts please get in touch!

    Thanks,

    Nat

  2. Radar Nishuli on said:

    I read your stories about your trip in our respectives countries. We still have a great job to do. Do you think we can get a copy of the film the ausralian make with us at Kahuzi-Biega National Park?
    See You
    Radar

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