The giraffes greeted team 5 at the bush camp straight upon their arrival from Josephine Gate.
It was pretty stiff competition for my briefings, but thankfully the team paid attention and learned everything they need to know to be out in the field collecting data. Vera and I would like to thank Verena for planning her birthday on day one; thanks to her we got to eat cake and a visit from the rhinoceros, all at the same time.
Too good to be true, just after everyone went to bed, I heard the elephants at our water hole. I got back out of bed myself, turned on the lights, and went to see who else was still up. Verena and Stefan’s lights were still on, so I knocked on their door and presented her with her final birthday gift of the evening: all nine elephants. As usual, the first six elephants had to wait around for quite some time eating the bark off trees and licking the salt block before the last cow and her two calves showed up, so the encounter was quite long. Giraffe, elephants, and rhino at our water hold all in the span of a few hours. I think this is another lucky group.
Today was our first day in the field, and we had one porcupine (Michael’s Dam) and a warthog (Lodge Trap) to release, which was done by staff because we were actually on our way to the box trap briefing/move. Despite the heat the team managed to relocate the JM South box trap to behind the lodge (where we’d had a camera trap showing leopard activity on a number of occasions). We did it in record time with so many willing hands, and we hope the fresh meat and fancy digs will be appealing to the leopards. Vera gave a box-tap briefing with a twist – this time we did a pop quiz at the end: what did we forget? THE MEAT! Eric jumped right in and helped Vera and Don fasten it inside the cage. Then we did housekeeping all over again.
Team 5’s box traps are located at Michael’s Dam, the Lodge, Mountains Lodge (the one we just installed today), and Bergposten. A cheetah trap has also been set up by our research partner IZW, not too far from the bush camp, and we’ll also be checking this for them as well. So team 5 has 5 box traps…a nice, tidy number coincidence!