Conservation and Environment in South Africa: Monthly Updates
Legodimo Nature Reserve - May 2009
The beginning of May saw the beginning of winter. The bush is changing drastically and the wildlife is getting ready for the dry season. Nights and early mornings are getting colder and colder. Daytime temperatures are very pleasant and this is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Our night sky has also changed - Orion is now invisible and Scorpio has made an appearance.
In May we built a new observation deck along the Limpopo River. This makes our data collection more varied and accurate. It took the volunteers a week to complete and we are very proud of them. Sightings from the new deck have included crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius) and common species such as Impala (Aepyceros melampus), Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) and Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus).
We have also seen many bird species from the deck and bird observations are now more enjoyable from this selected vantage point.
The new waterhole has proved to be very popular with the wildlife. Elephants (Loxodonta africana) have been seen fighting over females, Jackal (Canis mesomelas) drinking, Impala rutting and many more. Due to the game viewing blind, we have constructed with volunteers in the past, viewing has been at close range and without any interference, leaving the animals to go about their thing, naturally.
Elephants have even been seen climbing into the waterhole! It appears to be holding.
Visibility is getting better as the vegetation is starting to get less dense and more animals are visiting the waterholes.
Across most of Africa the hunting season has started. This means that we have had to intensify our anti-poaching patrols to thus try and discourage any from coming onto the reserve. It looks like it might be working. On a snare removal exercise, no snares were found but many tracks of cattle and other livestock.
Volunteers took photos of the brands on some of the animals and after showing these to the local chief (king), we were assured that these illegal forays would stop.
Another very exciting discovery was the sighting of a Sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) on a research drive. This is the first of these very rare and beautiful animals seen in around 20years. It shows that through our efforts, animals are starting to feel safe in our reserve and that our hard work in controlling erosion and eradicating alien plants, are starting to pay off.
Elephants are also starting to visit our camp more and more to make use of our swimming pool. They are very interested in our little garden and might become too curious soon.
It would be expected that reptile sightings would get fewer with the advance of winter, but on the contrary we have found many Puff adders (Bitus arietans) and seen plenty of tracks crossing the roads.
Jamie and Nicole have decided to leave our team and find their destiny elsewhere. We wish them all the best.
Dave is back! We are all very thrilled and have started to streamline our project further to get it to its full potential. Kathy is our new desk officer and has brought a smiling fresh new element to our team. Some new ideas and energy breathed new life into the group dynamics.
We are all rearing to go and ready for whatever June may bring.
Kind regards and friendly African greetings,