Thursday we did our vehicle game count and it was the first time Vera, Jesaja and I weren’t freezing our whatooties off on the back of the vehicles. It was a welcome change from the near-zero temperatures we’ve had before! We had some really good spotters in this group and it was great to have them on board the vehicles.
After the vehicle game count, each vehicle split off to check the box trap nearest the terminus of their transect. Sadly, they were all empty. Vehicle 2 had a surprise encounter with the elephants on their way back to camp on the main east-west road, and they seemed a lot quieter than they were yesterday. The teams yesterday found them restless and a bit challenging to observe.
Unfortunately we did have one camera trap casualty this slot. The elephants and the baboons tag-teamed the poor trap and you can see how it came back to us. Look closely and you’ll see the teeth marks in the batteries! This is the second camera trap the elephants have destroyed this year.
After lunch all helped with the final data entry and equipment cleaning and organisation around base. Ania, our volunteer pharmacist, ruthlessly organised our emergency medical kits while Brigitte sorted through thousands of camera trap pictures. (Tomorrow look for the best of Slot 3 camera pictures.) Other afternoon activities included box trap duty and the vehicle cleaning detail.
Thanks Team 3 for your hard work over the past two weeks! Not only did you trail-blaze some new tracks for us (and collected our freshest “snack”, er, scat to date) you also gave us some clues as to where we might relocate another box trap.