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I first visited IFCP (the Impenetrable Forest Conservation Project - as it was known then) in 1990 at the invitation of Tom Butynski and Jan Kalina who were running the project at the time. This was before the forest was gazette as a National Park. On the recce, I was accompanied by an old friend from Kenya, John Miskell and the ornithologist John Ashe. Together, I think they eventually wrote the birds of Somalia.

1990 Bob Drewes Ngoto Swamp
Bob Drewes in Ngoto Swamp, 1990

At Tom and Jan's invitation, we then did a two-month survey of the amphibian fauna, looking for hotspots in anticipation of the development of gorilla tourism. This was in the fall of 1990 and I invited Professor Harry Greene (now of Cornell University, but then UC Berkeley) to join us. Harry later wrote 'Snakes: The Evolution of Mystery in Nature', in which he reminisces about our hike to Omubiyanja Swamp. This expedition was written up in Outside magazine, as we were also joined by an old friend Mike McRae, who is a professional journalist.

We returned for another two months in 1996 to survey the reptile fauna. By then, the Park had become Bwindi Impenetrable N.P. and ITFC was run by Simon Jennings. I think we were the "test case" for the new UWA permit guidelines and had quite a time of it. This time, I invited Prof. Alan Channing who has since written two guides: one to the amphibians of South and Central Africa and one to the amphibian fauna of East Africa. On both long expeditions, our main field man was Jens Vindum, who is still Senior Collections Manager here in the Department of Herpetology.

And for those who are unaware of the Bwindi herp site, here is the URL:

Fondest regards to our old friends and their students.

Robert C. Drewes, is a Curator & Section Head, Herpetology with the California Academy of Sciences- San Francisco.

Gulf of Guinea Islands  Project: