In the last few days the elephants have really been travelling! One morning team found them in the mountains at the far south of the farm, and then the afternoon team found them at a waterhole on the north east side. (For those of you reading this that have already been to Okambara that would be in the mountains south of JM house, and then at Boma a few hours later!)
While our new box trap has not netted us a predator yet, we still have been consistently seeing tracks rather close to the trap, which keeps our hopes up for of a capture. We’ve also caught a porcupine (this one was also reluctant to leave the box trap), and another warthog. We also think we’ve solved the mystery of the closed-but-empty traps; tracks in front of a couple of the traps suggest a civet cat is setting them off, their small size enabling them to waltz out between the bars of the trap doors.
We have a couple of avid bird watchers, and it’s been enlightening to go out into the field with Anand and Suresh, because their keen eyes pick out roosting (and flying) birds that the rest of us need the binoculars to see. The duo has compiled a list of 51 positive identifications, and will add them to the expedition “bird journal” that Joe in Team 1 started. Several of us were lucky enough to go birdwatching (birdlearning?) with them on the day off.
Vera received a download from the collar of the leopard captured and collared during the last slot, and the data showed him repeatedly crossing the southern boundary of the farm. Vera immediately sent a team to investigate and they found the hole in the fence that he had been using and placed a camera trap there. Vera was ecstatic when pictures from the camera trap caught him in his patrol. Another good example of how useful it is to have so many helping hands, eyes and ears.
Speaking of camera traps, Sandra B. is such an enthusiast that she arrived with not one, but TWO of her own camera traps, and has added them to our efforts in strategic places on Okambara. One of her traps up north revealed a beautiful adult caracal as well as a very interesting oryx!
Update from our working holiday volunteering with leopards, elephants and cheetahs in Namibia, Africa