T+238 hours: Waterhole count and camera traps

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I didn’t get a chance to post a new blog entry yesterday because after arriving at CCF, I immediately showered and got to bed. The game count was pretty exhausting, so this is one entry for two days.

Originally, Shane (my roommate) and I were supposed to join Trina (another EarthWatch volunteer) at the Kindergarten waterhole in Bellebenno. However, two ladies supposed to be watching the Erik se Pos waterhole backed away from doing it since the hide was about 8 metres off the ground. Thus, Shane and I decided to do it instead.

Basically, what we were trying to do is count all the animals that went to the waterhole, write down at what time they got there, how many there were (and whether they were adult, subadults or juveniles) and also whether they drank or licked salt (from a block that had been put there before). Shane and I ended up moving that block a few hours after our arrival since we suspected the animals would like to have it closer to the water, and we were right.

Once up there, we had an excellent view into all directions (I’ll add pictures to the blog entries once I get home). There were some problems, though – we didn’t have a backrest and the nets that were supposed to be protecting us from the sun were almost falling off of the wires they had been attached to. Since there was a lot of unused or expendable wire we decided to refurbish about half the hide. We tightened the nets and even built a backrest using a spare log and some wire. It may not have been the most beautiful backrest there is, but it sure was better than the abyss right behind you. We also felt more secure when about thirty baboons showed up, all kind of pissed at us because we were so close to the waterhole. They didn’t leave for about half an hour, but after that, things got pretty quiet. We also saw a few zebra with a foal, but they didn’t get close to the waterhole since two oryxes were bullying them.

I got to check more cameras today, and even climbed a three metre fence today. It was quite nice and I also got a shot of myself because despite giving my best effort, the other camera pointing at the one I was working on detected me. Then again, this was better than the faulty one that got three shots of a termite mound while I was working on it – out of sight.

I finished the data entry on the (seriouos) Waterhole count’s results today. I will begin analyzing that data soon, but tomorrow we’ll walk Little C (the becoming cheetah ambassador) and I’ll also be busy raking mulch on a Nature Trail I don’t yet know. Yay!

Also, all other volunteers will be leaving for Etosha tomorrow. This means I’ll have plenty of time on my hands on Sunday – if I’m not needed somewhere.

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