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Conservation and Environment in South Africa: Monthly Updates

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Legodimo Nature Reserve - October 2009

HOT! October is one of the harshest times of the year. Temperatures can reach the high forties and sometimes even fifties. Celcius!

We have had a couple more millimetres of rain for which we are very thankful, but we need the raining season to start now. Most of the trees have started budding and the bush is starting to look lovely and green again.

We have had another Leopard (Panthera pardus) sighting of an enormous individual at one of the waterholes. At first all the volunteers thought it was a Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) or even Lion (Panthera leo), but on closer inspection and after it showed itself properly, it was confirmed to be a leopard. This was to be the first of many sightings. On one occasion, we spotted an Impala (Aepyceros melampus) carcass up a tree. We then saw the leopard near the carcass on a couple of research drives, but our camera trap was set at a bad angle and just got footage of the wind blowing through the leaves.

We have already heard Ground Hornbills () twice. On one of our bird observations, we had the privilege of a Pel's Fishing Owl () sighting! This was my very first proper sighting of these very rare birds in 25years!

Our bird list got loads of new additions thanks to a very enthusiastic birder amongst our current volunteers, Chris. He was really privileged to have seen a Pel's Fishing Owl during his time with us.

The greenhouse is finished and we have now started moving our new seedlings into their new home. We hope to get most of the endemic species of plants going as well as the species that elephants have eradicated.

The camera trap got us some very good footage of a Brown Hyena () struggling with the bait we had put out as well as some photos that can be sent onto the Endangered Wildlife Trust. We're still trying to get some more Leopard photos, but they seem to be smarter than we think or just slower than the hyena's to notice the bait. This month we have already had at least 5 Leopard sightings, but only a few good photos that can be sent onto the Endangered Wildlife Trust.

Work on the new observation hide is coming along well and we have finished reinforcing the dam wall. We have decided to use more rocks and other natural materials to disguise it.

Our blind at Kolobe Dam now has two levels from where the wildlife can be observed and it seems that the waterhole is holding water well.

Elephant dam's blind now has a cement floor that makes it just a little bit more comfortable during blind observations. This dam still proves to be the most popular with the wildlife.

Our rodent breeding program is still coming on very slowly as we have had some sort of predator push the cages over on numerous occasions as well as something eating all the food. We suspect Brian the porcupine might be to blame.

We are still waiting for the rains to commence, but signs look favourable for a good season ahead.

The Limpopo river is getting lower and lower and most of the migratory bird species have yet to return.

Next month should be even more eventful. Watch this space.

Friendly African greetings,

Gerrit Prinsloo
Conservation Director

Management Plan, Data & Reports

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