It’s been a whirlwind week of checking box traps (liberated: one rock monitor lizard, one hare and one porcupine), setting up camera traps, trouble-shooting camera traps (re-aligned by baboons, some not taking pictures, some taking too many pictures), fixing up waterholes (Emil the bull rhino used the one at Gustavposten as a scratching post), doing water hole observations, early morning vehicle game counts (1 cold and one not-so-cold-but-windy), observing elephants, walking around the bush looking for tracks (lots!) and picking up scats (lots!).
We did two evening observation drives and while we did not see any aardvarks, which were my original idea because of the plethora of new holes dug in the farm tracks, the teams reported seeing an aardwolf, bat eared foxes, “loads of springhares” and jackals. Evening entertainment included “Banana Grams”, a simple word game made very confusing by each participant making words in their own language (English, French, German and Italian). Verification was next to impossible. Evening briefings were made more artful by Marco’s pictogram explanations of the day’s activities. Thanks Heinz for letting me post some of your pictures with this diary!
Team 1 has just left for the Josephine Gate and it’s very sad to see them go. They formed a solid working team quite quickly, and really impressed Vera and I with their work ethic and willingness to spend long hours in the field making sure everything got done. Up and out at times before the “regular” departure time, their willingness to go out in the cold and count game animals was remarkable, and their willingness to go out into the field all day working on a smorgasbord of activities got us off to a great start. A big thank-you to all of you for your ability to make hard work fun, and for your contributions to the leopard project. Safe travels home.
Team 2? See you Sunday!