Just as the elephants have left and peace has momentarily descended on our little paradise camp, the tranquility is shattered by the incessant chirping of 3 banded mongooses (or is it geese? I don’t think anyone knows). We have acquired them from an adjacent reserve who couldn’t keep them because they were destroying the furniture…luckily for us we have no furniture. They bring death and destruction wherever they go but they have a soft side (one is sitting on my lap purring as I’m writing this) but I’m not fooled I know if I take my eyes off him he will take it upon himself to remove my nipple from my body. In all honesty though they are a real pleasure to have around the camp and bring joy wherever their incredibly surgically sharp feet take them.
We have just had the privilege of having a representative from Alborgh Zoo in Denmark live here at camp with us for the last two weeks. Mr. Paw Gosmer was sent by the zoo to forge relationships between Transfrontier Africa and Alborgh Zoo. Many an idea was given birth around the campfire at night. Finally after many a bottle of rum we have constructed a proposal that Paw will take back to his superiors for consideration back home. In a nutshell the relationship will allow visitors from the Zoo to come to Balule and experience African Elephants in the wild. We hope this venture will allow people to develop their perception of these magnificent creatures by providing a multi-dimensional experience which is simply unattainable at the Zoo. We are excited by the prospect of this mutually beneficial relationship. More on that soon.
Surprisingly we have managed to escape the mongooses/geese long enough to do some proper work. The elephant impact on trees survey that we are engaged with, is bearing much fruit? We have started an additional study on the effects of roads on elephant movement and therefore associated vegetation damage. We are of the opinion that damage is magnified along these man-made structures and hope to prove this hypothesis. If we manage to quantify this we believe it will go a long way towards influencing the construction of new roads in the Reserve and elsewhere!
Till next time, (if I still have fingersleft)
John (research assistant)