Archive for August 31, 2011
The number of Rhino poached in South Africa and her surrounding countries is increasing every year – 279 have been killed so far this year. In 2010 the total was a horrific 333 Rhino poachings – the highest yet seen in South Africa.
In many cases these beautiful creatures are not killed completely but left paralysed, immobilised and bleeding to death. But it is not just the adults that die, young rhino are either shot along with their mother or in many cases run away and hide so that we cannot find them and intervene to help them survive.
National Geographic have started a petition to the Vietnamese Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary: H E Mr Nguyen Manh Hung. This is because the Vietnamese use rhino horn in traditional medicine. This traditional medicine is creating a market which drives the trade in Rhino horns and thus fuels the illegal killing of South Africa’s rhinos.
The only way to destroy the trading of Rhino horn is to destroy this market. In order for this to happen, the Vietnamese government needs to launch awareness campaigns to educate people on the fact that Rhino Horn has absolutely no medicinal properties. Through this education the aim is to destroy the market for the rhino horn and with it remove the incentive for poachers to kill our Rhinos.
Don’t forget to sign the National Geographic petition and help save our Rhinos.
New discovery at Umkhumbi Lodge today! On our daily fence patrol today we spotted Leopard tracks in the sand leading into our bushland. This explains the mystery as to why we had multitudes of Nyala (we didn’t even realise we had that many) on the path to and around the rooms this morning.
Being sensible creatures (at times) they were trying their hardest not to be where the Leopard is lurking.
We have set up a camera trap, so we hope to get some pictures to share with you soon!
Well, we found Lucas, but I sort of wish we hadn’t.
Bad news today everyone, it would appear that despite being a fairly large black mamba, Lucas has become food. We found his remains bearing a broken neck, so we at least know that death would have come fairly quickly to poor Lucas.
It would appear from the marks on the ground that he was pulled from his termite mound. We do not however know to which predator he fell prey. The puncture wound which also resulted in a broken neck could have been caused by either a white-tailed mongoose or snake eagle, both are also the only predators likely to have preyed upon such a large mamba.
Lucas is the snake which we all had the most confidence in for survival due to his countless scars and quick nature, not to mention his ability to successfully evade us despite the tracking equipment. As you can imagine we were all saddened by this news. RIP Lucas.
In the short duration of our telemetry project so far, we have discovered that all three snakes seem to have taken up residence in specific areas of the bush in which they were released. Using this knowledge, we have set up motion activated nightvision cameras, these cameras were supplied to us by
Trying to pre-empt the next exploration direction, we left the camera out for a few days in the hope that Vader the forest cobra would saunter past. As we approached the camera trap, who did we see but Vader! Thankfully our video camera has a long zoom so we could film Vader without getting too close.
Actual footage from the motion cameras will be coming soon!
Time to say goodbye to some more new friends.
Staying with us for three nights Matt and Sheri managed to squeeze in not one, but two game drives. One of which they drove themselves, one of the the joys of Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game reserve is that you do not have to rely on a tour guide and can drive around at your own pace.
In addition to this, they took a short drive to the Cheetah rehabilitation place which is 30 minutes from Umkhumbi Lodge. The height the cats can jump during feeding is astounding and there always surprising little facts about the cats to be learnt. As if this wasn’t enough, you can also get close enough to the Cheetahs to cuddle them – ever heard a Cheetah purr before?
At the request of Matt and Sheri, Anton took Gizmo (our convalescing Forest cobra) out of the garage to show them a few tricks.
Matt is a teacher and after telling Carly all about school in the Uk, he interviewed him to show his UK students what life in South Africa is like.
Shy at first, Carly soon started enjoying himself.
See you again soon!
Ok guys and girls, this is an old one I know, but always good to resurrect the classics.
So how many bands can you spot, leave a comment, let us know!
This morning we waved goodbye to six of our new friends who came to stay with us at Umkhumbi Lodge.
On their last night at Umkhumbi Lodge they went on a night walk around the trail with us.
Armed with a UV torch, we took a stroll down to the trail and hunted for scorpions. Scorpions are unique with respect to the way in which they flouresce under UV light. Even the most plain looking brown and black scorpion becomes a beautiful bright glowing green colour.
It really does have to be seen to be believed.
It isn’t all scorpions however, near to our trail in the bush we have a clearing which is perfect for viewing the stars above. After years spent staring at the stars and daydreaming, Anton is able to point out various different constellations and our American friends were able to see the Southern Cross for the first time.
In addition to the scorpion walk our friends went on two game drives to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game reserve. They saw most of the big 5 and even managed to see hyaena on their game drives this morning.
And as always, Copper the dog made himself a new special friend.
Come back soon and swap some more stories on the lappa with us!