The breakfast bell rang early this morning, so I’ve only just gotten my shower this evening which is a good thing since I was filthy and covered in sand. We headed back to the spot where we set traps last night, and lo and behold I think we only lost one. And I could be wrong on that. I’m guessing because the spacing at one point was longer than it should have been, but I haven’t yet counted. It’s too bad I have no interest in those stinking gerbils! Out of the 50 traps we placed yesterday, 12 had a gerbil in them but not a single jerboa. Some of that could have to do with the fact that we set them early in the day, and gerbils are diurnal. So it’s hard for a jerboa to land itself in an already occupied trap. But regardless, fail. We did, however, see good jerboa tracks this time since the sand was dry. They’re pretty easy to tell since they are in pairs spaced about 10 inches between strides. The gerbils make scurrying tracks, so they’re quite distinguishable from each other. So the animals are out and now to catch them!
After collecting the traps, we drove up to the forestry station we’d been sent to where we thought the people were located who collected for me in the past. We waited and waited but no one showed up. Turns out they had a kid turn sick and went to Fukang city for the day. So we made our way back to the field station to wait for some phone calls to be returned and in the meantime got hooked up with the man I will call “The Fixer”. I remember him from before. He’s good at arranging things. And he remembered me and the people we were talking about. However it wasn’t the family we had gone to visit today – it was another Kazakh family off along a different road. So we loaded The Fixer into the car with us and went off to meet with the right family who did turn out to be the folks we’ve hired before. A small leathery old man with green eyes and wearing a flat cap took us into a room to sit down for negotiations on the rug covered platform that doubles as the family bed. We came to an agreement for a set price per female jerboa they catch and bring to us for the hour drive to the field station. Not a bad deal. All were pleased, we provided them with nets and great headlamps, and we will see the outcome in a couple of days.