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October 16 - 18, 2000 -- For more than a year, Dr. Michael Fay of the Wildlife Conservation Society has been walking what he calls the Megatransect - a major project to study and call attention to a huge, multi-national area north of the Congo River - a part of Africa that remains wild and forested.

The Megatransect follows an uninhabited swath of territory that runs for hundreds and hundreds of miles through the republic of Congo, Cameroon and Gabon - an area that contains thick forests, swamps, rivers, lowlands, an incredible array of wildlife, and few, if any, permanent human settlements.

Pygmies live at the edges of the region, and hunt through it, but the land is too foreboding even for them. It's hot, infested with insects and snakes, and home to large animals that can be dangerous -- elephants, leopards, and gorillas.

For a wildlife biologist like Mike Fay, itís like paradise.

But the world wants access to this region - home of some of the world's last tropical forests - to exploit its timber and mineral resources. And it will get it -- in a region of great poverty.

Thirteen months ago, Mike Fay began to walk from Central Africa all the way to the Atlantic coast of Gabon. He is trying to make a record of whatís there -- a quick study of the great wilderness -- so that conservationists and African governments can assess which areas are most important to protect.

As he nears the end of his trek, NPR/National Geographic Radio Expeditions features three stories about the Megatransect, with excerpts from Mike Fayís audio journals -- recordings heís made along the way -- and a very long-distance interview by satellite telephone.

Listen on October 16, 17, and 18, 2000 as Morning Edition joins Radio Expeditions to catch up with Mike Fay on his Megatransect across Africa.

Listen to the first of three reports with NPR's Alex Chadwick. Since there are no roads or footpaths in this wilderness, Mike Fay follows animal trails, and records his adventures along the way.

In part two of the series, Fay relates the difficulty his team faced as it trekked through this part of the world.

In part three, Alex talks with Fay by satellite phone as Fay camps out in the mountains of southwestern Gabon.

In part four, Alex checks in on Fay, having just completed the treacherous conservation walk through Central Africa to the coast of Gabon.

Visit the National Geographic Congotrek site to follow Conservationist Michael Fay's yearlong 2,000 kilometer walk across Africa.

Dr. J. Michael Fay Dr. J. Michael Fay

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