Update from our working holiday volunteering with leopards, elephants and cheetahs in Namibia, Africa (http://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/namibia).

Wednesday morning a sudden change in the elephants’ direction of travel put the elephant team face to face with the entire herd. It was a nice encounter in the middle of the road, where the team was treated to a display of mock fighting between two young bulls. The youngsters were plenty far away from the vehicle, and were nice enough to play out in the open so the team was able to capture some great pictures.

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The afternoon camera traps team collected the SD cards from several of the traps around the farm and we were treated to a slide show after dinner. We got to see game animals from some interesting points of view, as well as a visual reward from Team Twos’ legacy: remember the oryx calf kill we used to catch the leopard and then relocated the calf? We caught three klipspringer on the camera.

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The trap also revealed three cheetahs that were quite curious about a stick Christian had moved in the roadway a mere hour before the curious cats came along (we caught Christian on the camera trap as well!). As you can see, we can get some very good ID pictures from the minute that they spent in front of the camera.

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Further south of that camera another camera trap revealed a very curious leopard (was he licking the trap?) unfortunately too close to the camera for Vera to use for ID pictures.

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Wednesday one group walked a new transect in the northeast corner of the farm, which we are now calling Tracks & Scats #12. After hearing about the several tracks and scats that were found, Vera decided to make a new activity on Thursday to re-position one of the box traps there. So all three groups set out in the morning to do box traps – one to check JM South, another to pick up and move the JM North trap, and the third went up to Bergposten to check the trap.

The Bergposten team of Gary, Sandra, Suresh, Anand and Alisa arrived to discover a very displeased honey badger in the trap. After conferring with Vera, the team went back to release it. Thanks to Suresh for his nerves of steel (no doubt due to his Army training) for liberating the annoyed animal. The fierce honey badger at one point climbed up and was hanging onto the top of the cage from the inside trying to get to Suresh (honey badgers have been documented as even making a lion back down). Yet once the trap door was opened, the honey badger left Suresh behind and made a run for freedom.

When finished, the honey badger team joined the other two box trap teams, who had just finished the lovely new corral. This relocated box trap is just east of the lodge for those of you reading that have been to Okambara. Hopefully the new location will prove fruitful and we will catch a leopard!

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Update from our working holiday volunteering with leopards, elephants and cheetahs in Namibia, Africa

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