Finally a computer that works. We have been out of action since that fateful night Eva the Mongoose decided to pee on the last working computer. There was sparks, and smoke and the smell of burnt mongoose urine and fur stung our nostrils. Now I am typing on a computer that was around in the era of Cro-Magnon man, but it works.
We have been busy saving the world, or rather our 8 800ha patch of it. As of late 3 male giraffes have died suspiciously. We have concluded that they have been running into the overhead powerlines. Only the tall old males have the height to touch the lines. It is sad to think these old beasts have survived for many years, fending off countless lion attacks, only to be killed by…a power line. We think one giraffe was even chased by lions and in the process tripped over a support cable for the poles.We have just finished mapping all the low power lines in the reserve and are in the process of getting them raised.
The hyena introduction program in our region has been a success, although now we are getting reports from lodges that hyenas are stealing their cupcakes off their supper tables at night. We will have to educate them on the value of closing your door at night when there area broad spectrum of beasties about that could potentially steal more than your dinner.
Our waterhole census is coming along nicely. Its been quite exciting so far owing to the fact that we have visited, for the first time, the deep dark forgotten areas of the reserve in the search for the elusive waterholes. There are some places where you are convinced that dinosaurs still roam and you expect to find buried treasure next to a human skeleton around the next bend.
We had an exciting incident the other night with a lovely volunteer named Ida. There we were, next to 19 lions feeding on a giraffe. The mood was gay, the night was warm, everything was great until Sekorokoro decided she didn’t want to start. I pleaded with her, I coaxed her as I gently rubbed the dashboard. I swore at her and promised her I’d push her into the Olifants River. Nothing worked, but then over the hill came another vehicle, silhouetted against the sinking sun. Our rescuers! It was a private vehicle which pulled up next to ours. We gingerly climbed from our vehicle into theirs, much to the interest of the lions. Luckily they were quite full and didn’t eat us. It must be said that the lovely Ida was very brave and didn’t even break a sweat. Later on in the night we went to retrieve our tobacco from the vehicle. And lo and behold, she started on the first turn of the key! I hate her. But I love her.
We have recently enjoyed having one of our favourite volunteers return to camp. We explored other regions of the Kruger with her for a week. We traveled far across the park and are glad to say that there is nowhere as beautiful as our Balule. We are not just saying that… although Punda Maria came close. In fact I think Ms. Joke Lammers has visited our project more than anyone else. She is a great groupie to our project. We feel like we are in a band. Of sorts.
Unfortunately our student Shaun “sticks” Hill has died. No he didn’t really. He just left to continue with his studies at university. We miss him. It is like we have lost a child. We wish him all the best. We have found another bright young student who will be joining us next month. He hails from a land far far away and has a steely glare in his eye and purpose in his step. We look forward to his arrival.
Our anti-poaching team is coming along nicely. Derrick continues to bewilder us with his voodoo-magic tracking skills. We continue to experience a low incidence of subsistence poaching on the reserve but things are still very much under control. We are currently in the process of hiring 3 other staff to assist us with these responsibilities which should allow us to cover greater distances more frequently.