Well, somehow the rain is still falling. We are now over 800 mm at some of our farms and our dams are full and in some cases overflowing. The rain is making it difficult to get all the counts done each month and some of the roads we have had to abandon when wet. We have, however, managed to get all our monthly waterhole counts and the majority of our road transect counts done. Recent exciting sightings include a female leopard and small cub, a group of seven bat-eared foxes (a pair with 5 almost full grown young) out by the field and an aardwolf hanging around the hotspot during the late afternoons.
We are about to start a study on the invasive “bitterbush” or “blue bush” that has appeared on the big field in recent years. Little is known about this bush, especially within Namibia. It is thought to be highly unpalatable (tastes bad) and may out compete grass species. If this is the case, it could be detrimental to the grazing quality of the big field and for the antelopes that rely on this habitat for food. One of our Polytechnic student, Gustaf, will be working with the Ecology department to determine the extent and condition of this bush throughout the field as well as whether or not it is being browsed by animals.
We are continuing to monitor HiFi, our resident collared wild male. Since his brother and coalition mate's death last year he has been spending more and more time hanging around the CCF centre and visiting our captive girls. We often pick up photos of him out at our camera trap stations at playtrees on the big field, and from his very full belly we can tell he is still hunting successfully on his own.
|HiFi at one of the Big Field camera traps with a very full stomach.|
Our camera trapping census is still going well and we continue to pick up lots of photos of cheetah (and leopards) across CCF farms. As always, there is a lot of data to be sorted and entered from these camera traps. The last two Earthwatch groups have been hugely valuable in helping us sort through and log all these photos.
Until the next time!