Focus on mammals and plenty game drives……..

Focus on mammals and plenty game drives……..

This is already the second week of the second semester, time just fly !!!

This week was very intense, Monday we had a Lecture about Mammals in the morning and in the afternoon. Then we finally did Animal Behaviour; the subject we are all here for: this touched on why animals act in a certain way and try to understand them better. To be a good and ethical Field Guide is important to understand animals and to try to give the best possible experience to your guests while being respectful towards animals and the environment. Understanding them also brings safety both for the guests and the animals as you are able to determine what you can and can’t do. But, we still have a lot to learn.

Tuesday we went on our second Sleep out!!! This time we went into Pidwa Wilderness, we just had time to set up the camp before Hyenas came by!! But no worries, they are just very curious and the students were here to watch them during night shifts. During the night, the Hyenas came to see what was happening in the “camp”, and in the early morning two Hyenas came very close and almost crossed within the “camp”. The students who were awake, were very excited about it. We also had a quick practical lecture on Astronomy, and to tried to recognize some constellations like The Southern Cross and the Pointers which we can use to find the True South, Scorpios, Signus, Hyades and much more. We got very lucky as the night was not as cold as last time. This time every one got a chance to sleep nicely without freezing like last time, even if it was just for a few hours. At 5am, every one started waking up and it was time for a coffee and cleaning the camp, making sure not to leave a trace.

We went back to the campus, and had free time to rest a little bit before watching a documentary about the Queen of the Trees, the Siccamore Fig.

That was very interesting to learn about the relationships between the wasps and the Tree. We have the bad habit to be interested in the big mammals but the most complex animal behavior occurs with the smallest ones like the wasps. To see and understand the interaction and the complex symbiotic relationship between a very tiny wasp and a big Tree was very interesting. Learning about the interactions with other animals, depending on the season, and realizing that one single Tree, attracts and interacts with almost twenty different species (food, prey, nursery, home..) was fascinating.

Wednesday and Thursday, we had game drives, with different students driving each time to improve their skills as a Field Guide. Friday morning we got our first optional Game Drive or Walk, which means we had the opportunity to do a Walk or a game drive with the Trainers as Guides.

The game drive team was lucky: they saw Lions and Elephants and the walk teams saw a lot: Giraffes, birds and Bushbuck. They also heard Elephants but were far away and the other group heard a Leopard which was very close to them. During the walk we have to be very careful, quiet, alert and have our eyes wide open!

Like every week, we finished by a test on Saturday morning, Mammals, Animals Behavior and 31-45 Slides and Calls Birds.

Blog by Loren Barougier