Group 3 arrived on Sunday, and we’re a notable group because we’re all women. (Our male staff are having a blast I’m sure!) Training went very quickly and smoothly, and group three stunned us with their ease at adapting to our tasks. It’s always great to see how adaptable, eager and open the volunteers are to trying new things. We’re having a blast AND getting the science done. Go girlpower!!!
The first night Monika and I got a nickname: Team Gecko, because we shepherded a small gecko out of the lapa using our bare hands as corrals. We finally herded him out and onto the steps outside where we hope he’ll grow large and hearty.
Group 3 is the smallest team of volunteers Vera and I have worked with, so we’ve had to adapt some of the activities in order to get all the tasks done. It’s only this team’s second day out in the field and they make me so proud with their flexibility and willingness to dig right in.
Yesterday, Tuesday, their first task was to collect the repaired box trap (the one that caught the female leopard last week) and install it up at Bergposten. In the afternoon the entire team piled into the back of a truck to learn telemetry and observe the elephants, and was rewarded with a viewing of the entire elephant herd at the Sandposten waterhole for their first elephant encounter.
We got to watch the elephants drinking, then bathing and cavorting around in the water, and then witnessed their sand bath while one clever little one went back to the waterhole and drank from the source instead of the nasty elephant-bath-and-poop water. Team 3 is still in for their bush surprise when they learn how well camouflaged an elephant is and how easily they slip away from our sight. Right now team 3 thinks elephant observation is easy…the elephants will set them straight… J
Both teams stayed out in the field all day today getting a lot done. Our box trap/scats & tracks 3/camera trap/elephants team of Rebekka, Monika and Ligeus came back first and popped three cold ones to beat the heat. Diane and Barbara looked like they, too, needed a cold beer when they came back from the mountains…turns out they’d reset two box traps in addition to changing a flat tire as well as their bit of box traps and camera trap.
If you look closely in the one picture of Rebekka and Monika processing and labelling the scats, well, I can assure you that I’ll be having my dinner on the opposite end of the table.
It should be a very interesting briefing tonight…