The grass has grown, the trees are green, and that can only mean one thing, Babies!
During our field work we have seen many young faces playing around in the bush, from little impalas, wildebeests, elephants, rhinos and even the smallest little birds!
It is impressive to see that how after a long drought the bush is rejuvenated so quickly.
With the first volunteers of the year we are starting our year with eradicating alien vegetation of the reserve like prickly pears and cockleburr, rhino and elephant data collection and reserve maintenance. And being out in the field could never be a boring thing! As our volunteers Lisa and Arthur experienced. Whilst collecting camera trap data in the field, someone mentioned that there was a big elephant on its way. When we looked up he was just 50 meters away from us. Not only the sheer size of this elephants made us quickly pack up and move away, but also the fact that the elephant was in full musth. When an elephant is in musth it means that it wants to reproduce. Their testosterone flies through the roof whilst looking for a female. This means that during their musthing period they can be very aggressive. Whilst we quickly put the SD card back into the camera trap and packed our bags the elephant already kept an eye on us. He moved towards the other side of the dam and started drinking. Although he flapped his head and ears a couple of times to look extra impressive, he did not care much for us after a couple of minutes. We watched him drink for a while before getting back to our car. Definitely a sight that the volunteers won’t forget any time soon!
The Black Mambas are also starting the new year with a bang. There has been a good collaboration between The Black Mambas and the armed guards as we have already had several incursions this month. Tracks and fence cuts were quickly located by the Mambas and fast follow up by the armed guards. Both APU’s are on high guard, especially around full moon. The battle against rhino poaching is still going strong. It is a though one but with the right mentality and strategy we can win this battle on the ground. The Mambas have also pulled out snares in the so called buffer zone. An area that is outside of our reserve. It is important to not only work and protect inside the reserve but also in the areas bordering the reserve to minimalize the threat coming to the reserve.
Also the Bush Baby Environmental Education project is ready for a new school year! The class rooms are made ready, the tables are repainted and the lessons are prepared for a new group of students. We hope they get just as much joy in their first year of environmental education as the previous bush baby first year had! We are looking forward to meet our future conservation and wildlife warriors!