Conservation and Environment in South Africa: Monthly Updates
Kwa Tuli Conservation Project - December 2011
December was another great month for conservation in the Tuli block. The rain brought some delays to work but gave the eco-system a much-needed burst of life. December saw the Baobab survey surpass 90 trees, an amazing figure that none of the management on the reserve thought we would reach in that area. With these results we have decided to extend the survey to all the neighboring properties; it may be a 2-year project but as it’s the first of its kind we will be the leading authority on these trees in the central Tuli area, all thanks to our volunteers.
December also saw the hard work of previous volunteers pay off as dams started to fill up with water. We now hope these dams retain water for many months into the dry season. They certainly contributed to our soil erosion plans as the water retained did NOT contribute to surface run off, stripping the topsoil of vital nutrients.
All other projects in December continued producing great results; our 48 hour hide survey was great in terms of data collection and provided the team with more data and information on our animals within the reserve.
Volunteers conducted a 48 hour observation at a man-made water hole, to collect data on the importance of man-made water sources at different times of the year.
They took turns spending 6 hours at a time at Ma Matumi Hide, with at least 2 people awake at all times. The time of month was deliberately chosen, as it was full moon, to help see the animals come and drink during the night.
Volunteers had to keep very quiet for long periods of time – no talking or music was allowed, as this might scare off the animals. They also had to keep very still, as movement would also have scared off the animals.
The weather was unfortunately not ideal – it was windy, and cool, and it had rained recently. Despite this, 6 species were recorded: Impala (Aepycerosmelampus), Greater Kudu (Tragelaphusstrepsiceros), Zebra (Equusquagga), Steenbok (Raphiceruscampestris), Warthog (Phacochoerusafricanus) and Elephant (Loxodontaafricana).
This study will be conducted several more times, to collect more data at different times of the year.
Volunteers needed a lot of patience to successfully complete this particular project, and they all did very well. We’d like to thank the volunteers who sat at the hide for 6 hours at a time:
Thibaut Juvet (Switzerland)
Maria Fuchs (Germany)
Patrick Hungerbuehler (Switzerland)
Melanie Sottocasa (France)
Kasumi Suda (Japan)
There is no doubt that without the input of previous volunteers to the area studies like this could not take place, so thank you to all previous volunteers, too!