In their operations center in Congo's Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, six rangers huddled around a monitor as patrol leader Christian Molango shared an image that surprised even the seasoned team: a pair of hippos, wading in a black-watered forest river.
The rangers have been recently equipped with waterproof 12MP cameras, primarily to assist with evidence collection from poaching incidents. In this case, they had captured what is believed to be the first photo evidence of hippos inside Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park.
The photos are a testament to the rich biodiversity of the region, where mysteries of the wild from undescribed plants to uncontacted chimpanzee communities and secret forest clearings lie undisturbed, but vulnerable. They highlight the importance of protecting this unique place.
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