Oh, the places you’ll go! Tracking Diaries #5
“Oh great,” says Dr. Cliffe. “I have poop in my boot.”
“Don’t you mean ON your boot?” says Amelia, using a machete to get through a two-meter-long spider web.
“Nope,” says Dr. Cliffe. “It’s dribbled down. And it belongs to someone else.”
I have started naming the places where we go to track sloths. We take GPS measurements too of course, but a string of coordinates just doesn’t capture the essence of the place like a name does.
Take yesterday’s location for example, which (for the sake of publishability) we shall call Poo Creek. That’s not what we call it around the office, and that really not what we call it when we step in it. Poo Creek runs through the middle of Baguette’s home range, which (also for the sake of publishability) shall be known as Heck Swamp.
Heck Swamp contains retribution for violating sloth tracking’s divine commandments, such as Thou Shalt Wear Big Rubber Boots, punishable by Poo Creek. There’s also Thou Shalt Remember Thy Bug Spray (the Dengue carrying mosquitos); or even Thou Shalt Go Get Real Job With Health Insurance Like Thy Mother Said And Stop Mucking About In The Jungle, Really, When Are You Going To Grow Up? I think that one is the live power line, but I haven’t tested it.
Tiny Croissant used to disappear into a dense patch of hibiscus bushes I named her Fortress of Solitude. Once she was in the Fortress it would indeed take Superman’s X-ray vision to find her, and our funding does not yet cover that. Croissant has now moved to a new location—Arse End Swamp.
My boss named it. She’s British, so she gets to say “arse”. You wouldn’t believe Arse End Swamp is only a block away from some of Puerto’s finest shopping and dining, but you can in fact spend several hours getting lost less than 50 meters from civilization. We know. We tested this. Croissant is still laughing at us.
After sending us on a wild goose chase all over town, Nacho’s signal finally settled down (in fact, stooped entirely) in a very sketchy location we immediately called Shady Camp. Happily for us, Nacho himself was found hanging out at the nearby bar; unhappily for our research, he ditched his backpack with all of its lovely data back at the Camp. We’re still plotting how we’re going to get it back.
Our boy Arthur favors a trio of trees we call the Bermuda Triangle. Two are Chilamate trees and one is known locally as a Matapalo– which translates literally as Death Stick—and is also called the Strangler Fig. That’s not ominous or anything. The radio signal goes so strange in this area that one side of the triangle might actually be in Bermuda for all we know. I have petitioned for the tracking team to be sent to Bermuda to test this theory. I’m certain I could fiddle with the tracking equipment while laying on a pink sand beach. Our finance department has let me know that they’ve filed this motion right after my petition for X-ray goggles, and they’ll get back to me on that.
Nearby Arthur’s Bermuda Triangle is my favorite tracking location and Alan’s favorite hideaway, the Fairy Forest. You can take two steps into this small patch of Cacao trees and it feels like another world. It’s cool and quiet and exotic mushrooms line the forest floor, and the radio signal from Alan’s collar promptly starts bouncing around like a Will-o-the-Wisp, trying to lead unwary trackers astray. If ever the tracking team doesn’t come home, look for us there. You’ll find us asleep in a circle of toadstools, our tracking equipment turned to rust, babbling wild tales of feasting in the halls of Queen Titania–but at least we’ll have found our sloth.
Urban Sloth Project Assistant