Conservation and Environment in South Africa: Monthly Updates
Legodimo Nature Reserve - January 2010
Rain at last!
January in Legodimo was a month of new things. The rains have finally started!
The bush has come alive for a second time after there had been a long unusual break that had us worried about another drought.
The river's level is still increasing and we fear that we might not be able to cross at nearby Platjan Border Post for much longer. It has however transformed the surroundings to a lovely green which means we have very good sightings of wildlife.
The resident hippos are still getting friendlier and friendlier and seem to have accepted us as their neighbours. This could be a good opportunity for a study on their behaviour.
We have had our first sighting of a Leopard (Panthera pardus) for 2010! She was a magnificent female that was very relaxed with us only a couple of meters away from it. We got good photos which should be a new addition to the Carnivore Work Group's research project.
We finished removing yet another old internal fence line of barbed wire that stretched approximately 4km.
Our newest waterhole needed some repair after we had a heavy downpour over most of the reserve. We have now fortified the lowest point in the dam with Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) poles which should hopefully stop the elephants from running it down for their mud bathes on the side.
We didn't see any elephants on the reserve for most of the month due to water being scarce. They arrived back in full force though and we have now had a few encounters with 100+ individuals visiting the waterholes at the same time. They don't even give us chance to get back to the vehicle after starting the generator which had us in quite a predicament on a few occasions.
After the good rains this month we had to inspect our wrapped trees to make sure they don't get constricted by the wire we have strung around them. These strands of recycled wire deter elephants from debarking and thus killing the trees. With more water in the soil the trees expand which needs to be monitored so as to not kill the trees in our effort to save them.
A very strange discovery this month was a headless crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) next to the Limpopo River. After dissecting it we found massive tooth marks all over its body and thus came to the conclusion that a bigger crock had taken its head off.
We failed to get any good photos using the remains of this crocodile with a camera trap.
Kathy Troke Thomas will sadly not be coming back to the project just yet and we would just like to wish her all the best for the future and hope to see her soon.
We hope February will have more rain and leopard as well as the elusive lions (Panthera leo) of which we are still finding tracks and signs more regularly.
Watch this space.
Greetings from hot Africa,