Thursday was our weekly vehicle game count. What a difference a week can make. Last week we were frozen solid on the backs of the trucks and counting game like crazy, and this week the weather was much warmer and the animal counts much less. The mountain team consisting of Mark, Helen, Uli and Ashley didn’t see much game on the game count, but they did see a lot of tracks. In fact, one track they followed led them straight to out box trap! There the leopard put on paw in the trap, then proving how very clever they are decided it was a bad idea and stepped out again without activating the trap. We can’t wait to see what leopard it was when we view the camera trap pictures!
Elephant observation teams were extremely unlucky after the first encounter. We scoured the farm for four days never finding them, getting random beeps but never seeing them. Finally on day 5 we went out and found followed their signal (and them) to the Sandposten waterhole. We had a lovely encounter for more than an hour, unfortunately never observing any feeding behaviour because they were so absorbed in the water. What was very interesting to all of us was how they chased off the cows: they blow water at them!
Vera’s game count team of Mara, Paul, Emma and Bruce didn’t see much game at all according to Helen and Uli doing data entry to my right, but they reported seeing the rhinos on the way back home. My team of Louize, Di, Vibeke and John on the east side of the farm didn’t see the bat eared foxes this week, but we did see a plentiful amount of the beautiful and delicate Steenbok. (Our data sheets were so full we didn’t want to brag that we also saw the rhino family group plus the big male.) We also counted among our animals a sable antelope.
The rest of the week’s activities hummed along swimmingly well. The teams worked hard even though it has been quite hot these past two weeks. We’ve changed around the activities a bit so that we’re doing the more sedentary activities in the afternoons, but for some activities like box traps and changing the bait meat in the traps, it’s just a hot, sweaty, smelly business no matter what time of day you do it.
A hearty thanks goes out to all the Team 5 volunteers. We wish you safe travels home.
Team 6? See you at the Josephine Gate on Sunday!