The last two months of 2015 have been great in terms of work and fun! Here is what the Kariega Conservation Volunteers have been up to during November and December.
Lion Prey Study
The following image indicates where the volunteers observed the lions. The new female is not entirely accepted by the pride yet. The old female did spend a few days with her, but then joined the two males. It was only observed that one warthog and one impala were killed by the lions. No other data are available regarding their prey selection during November and December.
Elephant Impact Study
The volunteers observed the following with regarding to the elephants’ diet preference and impact on the vegetation.
Grass was mostly grazed and uprooted leaving some small bare patches, otherwise just a reduction in annual growth. Winged Crowberry was just browsed and reduced the annual growth of the specie. Prickly pear was browsed and sometimes pushed over, this spread the invasive specie even more and contribute to the big problem already existing on the reserve. Glossy currant, Kuni bush, Plumbago, Beesting bush were all just browsed and reduced the annual growth of the vegetation, but no serious damage. Acacia trees were seen browsed, debarked and pushed on different occasions, this leave some of the trees to die, where some are just badly damaged or the annual growth are just affected.
The one new camera trap was set up on the fence line close to the Homestead Lodge where the new lioness has been pacing up and down and we got some good video footage of her confirming it. After we had the camera set up for the second time, the lioness must have taken the camera down, the glass is broken and there are bite marks on the metal case of the camera. Unfortunately no footage are available of this event taking place. On the other camera trap some aardwolf and brown hyena was found in the same area. Another camera was also set up where a possible leopard track was found by rangers, so we hope for the best for some footage of this elusive animal.
A number of fence lines have been checked and cleared along with the Kariega Game Reserve fencing team. Additionally we worked with the Kariega team to clean and repair a number of roads on the reserve.
Alien Invasive Species Control
During November and December 130 Pine trees and a number of black wattle trees were removed.
Bush Encroachment Control
We worked in a large area of the reserve to prevent the encroachment of Glossy Currant (Rhus sp).
The volunteers planted approximately 300 Spekboom cuttings. Bare soil areas were chosen to plant the spekboom to help stabilise the area and prevent further erosion.
Dancing for Rhinos
The volunteers helped preparing the Town Hall in Kenton On Sea for the rhino dance that took place on the 12 of December 2015. The hall and bathroom was properly cleaned and the windows and roof were draped. The volunteers also attended the function the Saturday night as a reward for their hard work helping to prepare the hall.
And so has another great year has come to an end. Thank you to all our amazing 2015 volunteers for their work efforts on Kariega Game Reserve. Our volunteers make this programme so great. Happy holidays everyone!
Yours in Conservation, Frances van Pletzen