Friday morning we conducted our first vehicle game count. It was quite cold on the back of the vehicles at six in the morning, but the teams did very well, both sighting the animals and with their identification skills. Each team moved directly into their afternoon activity re-activating the box traps, conducting a tracks and scats walk and observing the elephant herd.
Saturday was a “rest” day, with a leisurely morning including a team doing water hole observation and in the afternoon a walk in the bush with Jesaya, our expert tracker. This group surprised a pair of warthogs in their den, and both parties had quite a fright. Luckily there were no injuries and now that group has a story of a close encounter in the African bush to tell their friends back home.
Sunday (yesterday) was business-as-usual for the research team despite the unseasonal wind, and consequent dust storms, and three groups went out in the morning and afternoon. The morning tracks and scats team came back with two baggies of specimen, and showed off their prize while the other teams were eating their lunch. They are now being referred to as the tracks and snacks team…
The afternoon box trap team changed the SD cards in the camera traps, and last night before dinner we were treated to a slide show of all the animals that trigger the cameras, including team members checking the batteries. Among the most interesting triggers were several troops of baboons, a porcupine, streams of warthogs, a very curious bull and team members making funny faces while checking the batteries. Vera concluded the evening with an in-depth presentation on the subject of her PhD and how Biosphere Expeditions is helping her gather data for that while also enabling her to be one of the community liaisons for human-wildlife conflicts in the area.