Exo Terra Cameroon Expedition 5 - Mount Manengouba pt 2

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
This thread is the fifth and final thread in a series of threads outlining the Exo Terra Expedition to Cameroon I recently returned from. The first four threads in this series can be found here:

https://www.chameleonforums.com/exo-terra-cameroon-expedition-mount-cameroon-55779/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/exo-terra-cameroon-expedition-2-nyassosso-mount-kupe-56261/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/exo-terra-cameroon-expedition-3-mount-manengouba-56644/
https://www.chameleonforums.com/exo-terra-cameroon-expedition-4-mount-oku-57382/

Having had an extremely successful stay on Mount Oku in the Northwest Region, we headed back to the Southwest Region in the hopes of finding the adult Trioceros quadricornis quadricornis that eluded us the rest of our trip. On our way out, we found the area around Mount Oku was heavily deforested:

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We decided to return to Bangem on Mount Manengouba and explore additional locations around the area. The trip between Mount Oku to Mount Manengouba, which when we had made it a few days prior saw us staying the night in two cities along the way, we pushed through and made in a single day. After a good nights sleep following our arrival, we decided to travel to the top of Mount Manengouba to visit the twin crater lakes.

The twin crater lakes of Mount Manengouba sit in a vast caldera sitting at about 2400m in elevation that has been largely cleared for cattle grazing:
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The two lakes are referred to as the male and female lake. The male lake is accessible and you are allowed to swim in (which after a very full day of traveling was very nice), but the female lake is sacred and inaccessible. Small remnants of forest, although highly disturbed, are still seen around the rim of both lakes.

Male Lake of the Mount Manengouba Twin Crater Lakes:
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Ridge between the Male (left) and Female (Right) Lakes:
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Female Lake of the Mount Manengouba Twin Crater Lakes:
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Following a swim, lunch and some exploration of the forest patches around the lakes, three of us decided to try to climb to the rim of the caldera to get an idea of what forest was left on the slopes of the mountain. The climb was extremely steep and seemed to be endless:
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Once at the top, we were able to see a great deal of deforestation with primary forest seemingly only found on the steepest of slopes:
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Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
On the outer edge of the caldera's rim, there were a number of steep drops that were still covered in thick forest. As we sat at the top, we were able to watch the clouds begin to push up the side of the mountain, through these forests and then spew over the rim into the caldera:
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We decided that we would return the following day to explore some of the remaining patches of forest around the rim that appeared to be somewhat accessible. Unfortunately we were unable to locate anything more than a single male Trioceros perreti in and around these forests:
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This left us with a single full day in the mountains to locate adult T. q. quadricornis because the day after we had to travel back to Douala.

The next morning we found a very nice moth at our hotel in Bangem:
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We decided to drive slightly away from Mount Manengouba and explore some of the submontane & montane forests along the way, hoping that we might be able to locate a patch of forest at a high enough elevation that might yield some results. After traveling some very rough roads for a while, we found a patch of forest at 1500m that we decided to check out. This patch of forest seemed strangely different than any of the forest we had seen before. To me, it was reminiscent of a lowland forest in structure (extremely dense twiggy undergrowth, pandanus patches, etc.) but it was right on the cusp of elevation between submontane and montane. The only thing we saw searching during the day was an odd grasshopper but we decided to return that night and check it out again because we were out of options:
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Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
We returned after dark, hoping to find more there than we had earlier that day. At first we were not seeing anything and we were all visibly disappointed and frustrated. After searching for a while, I saw a light reflection off in the distance that looked like the under side of a yellowing leaf. I was about to glance over it and continue on but decided to push through the brush to double check. When I finally got close, I was able to call out to the rest of the group with exactly what we were all hoping to hear: "I've found one! I've got a big male quadricornis quadricornis!" Everyone immediately rushed over and we were all able to give a sigh of relief and enjoy what at the time seemed like the pinnacle of our trip, the last animal that made our expedition a complete success.

After everyone got a chance to hold him and get their picture taken wearing huge grins while holding our final prize, we kept looking, hoping to find a few more. We never found any more T. q. quadricornis but we did find another surprise. On Mount Kupe earlier in the trip, we were very fortunate to find a single male Trioceros pfefferi. We were all extremely pleased to find this animal, even if only a single specimen, so we were very pleased to not only find an adult male T. q. quadricornis, but three female T. pfefferi as well.

Trioceros pfefferi:
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Trioceros quadricornis quadricornis:
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Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Trioceros quadricornis quadricornis cont.:
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Now, if those two finds weren't epic enough for our final night, we did find something else in that forest. Unfortunately, you'll need to wait until the paper comes out to hear about that one...

Hope you enjoyed the posts on the trip.

Chris
 

warpdrive

Avid Member
glad to hear the trip wasn't fruitless.
oh, and I can look at 100 photos of the same chameleon as long as it's a Quad. :D

thanks Chris

Harry
 

laurie

Retired Moderator
Chris every post you do from your trip just makes me wish more & more that I could go one one of these trips. The lake looked so lovely and unspoiled, delicious for swimming. But I bet it was colder than the Florida water you are familiar with.:D

Ah the male quad, he is just so perfect, Sadly it make's me just more aware what we do to them in the importing process. You certainly never see one like that show up here. I just received a pair of w/c and the male looks good for a w/c but not like the one you saw. Wow.

Since this is the last installment, I want to thank you again for all the pictures and vivid descriptions of the land and all the creatures. Sharing it with us is like giving us a tiny piece of Maddy.
 

jannb

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks once again Chris for sharing your trip and gorgeous photos with us. After viewing your threads I am starting to really get excited about our vacation to South Africa and Madagascar.
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
Beautiful, beautiful animals, even unto the grasshopper. Beautiful shots of the scenery, too; I could probably do the climb, but can't imagine it carrying all the expensive (and probably bulky)photography equipment!
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am soooo jealous but glad we get to see the beauty of the land and animals through your awesome photography! Thanks Chris!!!!
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
The animals definitely were in excellent condition for the most part. A few of them had a couple injuries but for the most part they all looked really good. In my experience, the vast majority of chameleons look quite good in the wild but you will always see a few that are banged up. The WC we see look so terrible because of what the collectors, exporters and importers do to them.

Carrying all the camera equipment definitely was a challenge. After our climb of Mount Kupe, I reevaluated what I needed in my bag and left a few things behind in the room the rest of the trip.

Anyway, I'm glad that most of you enjoyed all the photos.

Chris
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Now, if those two finds weren't epic enough for our final night, we did find something else in that forest. Unfortunately, you'll need to wait until the paper comes out to hear about that one...

Two and a half years ago I left this multi-thread travel log of the Exo-Terra Cameroon Expedition on a bit of a cliffhanger. The paper has now been published, so the rest of the story is out: http://www.salamandra-journal.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=343&Itemid=75

Chris
 
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