We get back late from the vets as it took the Forest Cobra over 2 hours to react to the anaesthetic.
But no sooner did we get back and install the Forest Cobra in the garage near the heater to heal, than we were off catching Nyala again.
It is about 16:30 by now and we have only a few hours of sun left, but we need to get another one! We have already dropped our target of 10 down to the more believeable target of 5 – but this already is starting to look impossible!
As we round the corner of the fence line on the quadbike we see our friendly cross-horn nyala munching away at the grass, slowing down we see a pair of curly horns emerge from the bush and stand next to cross-horn. It is one of our full grown Nyala bulls with his horns just starting to curve out once telling us his age.
Anton raises the rifle slowly – it is already loaded with the sedative dart – and carefully takes aim.
*thduff* the dart flies straight and lands in the fleshy part of the bulls rear. He turns and darts into the bush once more, we hadn’t realised that the bush there was quite as thick as it was! We quickly lost sight of him in the bush and had no choice but to wait for Johan to get the transceiver to us. It is getting dark and we have no torches but push on. But we have to find him as he could die without the reversor drug.
We were not expecting him to be able to get quite so far into the bush after the quick reaction that it had on the other bull. But we now had the transceiver and pressed on trying to find him in the dark – all fingers crossed that the transmitter was still attached to the nyala.
Eventually we find him and call in all hands to help carry him. But how to direct people to where we were? Even we did not know! Not even the moonlight was penetrating the thick bush. All we could be sure of was that we were still in the bush somewhere at Umkhumbi Lodge.
It is now 9pm and we are all exhausted after leopard crawling through the rest of the bush, under branches and between vines, avoiding the caterpillars and the buffalo thorns which will inevitably end up in various unmentionable parts of your body – all of this whilst hoping there are no snakes!
We decided that as he had been drugged for too long already the safest option was to reverse the drugs rather than risk his safety. Not to mention the fact that it was too dark to even see the Nyala never mind the way out!
We all retreat from the bush blood running down faces, arms, legs, hands and feet at the end of day 1, but we have no Nyala in the boma despite our hard work – tomorrow can only get better!