As the northern hemisphere slowly gets into summer mode, we in South Africa are getting ready for winter! You might think that winter in Africa doesn’t get that cold, but I can tell you it does! Whilst the day can still be nice and warm, the evenings are getting colder and colder. Sometimes all you want is just to fall asleep in the middle of the campfire! But one of the biggest bonuses of winter time in the bush is that the trees and plants are losing their leaves, which makes wildlife spotting a lot easier. Our volunteers have been very lucky this month as they saw 2 massive rock phytons, amazing lion sightings, a beautiful leopard and a rare sighting of a serval. And to top it off whilst the volunteers had these amazing sightings, they also managed to find 6 set poaching snares, which they quickly removed and searched the area for more snares, great job guys!
Our volunteers also helped out with the bushbabies environmental education program, as the bushbabies have entered an a science expo where the children will research their own subject to present. Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is an exposition, or science fair, where students have a chance to show others their projects about their own scientific investigations, and today the Bush Babies started with their preparations for the expo, they completed their day by decorating their new uniform T-shirts with a conservation message. Well done Bush Babies!!!
This month we also had a visit from our funder and longtime friends and supporters Ralph and Perdita from Retten das Nashorn (Save the Rhino). And as usual they showered us with gifts from Germany! Their supporters donated some great clothes for the Black Mambas, Shaya got his own accessory, a beautiful leather new collar! We were also donated night vision equipment so that we can protect our wildlife better at night as well! And of course it was great to see Ralph and Perdita again. It was an emotional visit as well as they visited the orphanage of the rescued orphaned baby rhinos. Without the help of Retten das Nashorn we couldn’t have saved these young ones, so it was an emotional sight to see them grow up and turn into healthy and strong young rhinos. It was great to see you again in Africa, Ralph and Perdita! And we hope to see you again soon!
More on the Black Mamba’s, we have started to expand our team of Black Mambas by another 10 ladies from the surrounding tribal land called Maseke. These ladies will after their training protect the land surrounding Balule, as this is just as important as protecting the land inside of the borders of the reserve. The training is going very well so far. With long time Black Mambas Nocry, Sihpiwe and Belinda as their training instructors as well as Craig, they are learning all the skills necessary. They will be schooled in road block procedures, search and seizure and parading as well as how to detect snares, poaching camps and of course poachers. They will also receive paramilitary training to keep them fit for long hard days in the bush, as they sometimes need to patrol for 20 km a day! But also since most of the women do not have previous experience in a Big 5 area they will also receive training to stay save in the bush during their work! With a couple of more weeks to go and they will be ready to start their new job protecting the natural heritage of South Africa!
We would also like to thank the Kruger2Canyon Biosphere Region, for awarding us for our contribution to and support for bioregional programs. Great praise indeed! We are looking forward to keep collaborating in the future!