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Camera trapping – science…but fun!

Wed 13 Jul 2022

Operations Manager Duane keeps a close watch on Limpopo-Lipadi’s flora and fauna and works with a Reserve Management Plan to strategise on the Reserve’s conservation efforts. Sometimes it can be as practical as putting up a camera trap to get more surprising insights in animal behaviours. Read Duane’s story below: “When I was a young and green Game Ranger, I often wished that I would be able to pick a spot, somewhere in the bush, and have the ability to visualise what living creatures moved past and through that area over the space of a day, a week, or a month. At the time it was a mere pipedream. Nowadays of course we have very compact, very clever, high resolution trail-cameras with infrared capabilities that can take photographs or video, day or night, in most conditions. The stuff any young game ranger’s best dreams are made of. One late afternoon in March, as we were having a stroll down by the river, we came upon an otter latrine. Little chips of freshwater mussel shells crushed with countless crab’s carapaces and fish-scales. Now, any normal person would wonder why such a find would make anyone excited, but to me it was a great find, as it just gave me an excellent opportunity to test some of the trail-cams that shareholder Lucy and her father so very kindly repaired, and recently brought back to the Reserve. I decided to put the trail-cam on a wooden stump, facing the river, focusing on a small beach of sand of about 4 square meters, with my main objective to get a clear picture of the otter that frequented that latrine close by. Of course, I knew that I would get some other activity in this little space as well, but I was never prepared for the incredible variety of life that would pass by that little patch of sand on a daily basis. Hundreds of photos of guinea fowl, Meve’s starling, Natal spurfowl, vervet monkeys, Chacma baboons, warthog, civet, large and small spotted genet, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, water monitor lizard, and ultimately Cape Clawless Otter. As we speak, we are currently doing a 120 camera trap survey on the Reserve with the objective of determining the quantity and variety of cryptic species. We are very much looking forward to the results!” If you would like to be a part of our conservation efforts, do call on us. For discreet information on share sales, contact sylvia@partofafrica.com. To book a safari, request our rates via WhatsApp: (+267) 75995115.