My 2 weeks off I spent „back home“ in the Selati Game Reserve (the Reserve we started our course). I volunteered 2 weeks with the Research Team.
EcoTraining is very focused on educating us in being good and entertaining guides. I wanted to see another side of the Wildlife. Conservation- and Research-Work. It was an absoluty different experience to spend time with the Research Team. Of course it was kind of the same – I still had to get up at 5 o’Clock and hop on the vehicle and drive through the reserve. But now – we concentrated more about the animals and nature for what it is and how it works. Not how we could make it intresting for our guests. We counted Impalas – many Impalas, we studied elephant behaviour and their impact on trees, monitored lions, introduced 2 new buffalo bulls and many more things.
Just looking at lions for 30min. and not thinking about what could I tell my clients, or how can I link it to their intrests etc. was refreshing. It was just about the lions and nature… And I loved it. The Research Team also needs to understand the delicate balance of an ecosystem. And they need to make decision how much and how they should intervine with nature. One of my highlights was an encounter with an elephant in musth… and I noticed, how well the Team knew the elephant and they knew exactly how to deal interact or react to certain movements of the elephant…. Some other highlights were some close encounters with a lioness that is just on her own (which is quite unusual für lioness).
And of course Dungbeetles! Dungbeetles are Always my highlight. They can turn around my day! I love to observe those little but very important creatures. Within seconds or minutes they arrive at a fresh dung and within days they are done with that one pile of dung. Dungbeetles are so called decomposer, which means they decompose dead plant material and this closes or refreshes the nutrient circle as it brings back nutrients to the ground. It is just cute to watch them fight over the best piece of dung and then roll their ball everywhere around – backwards!
And when I see a Dungbeetle, having a lady on his ball I cheer him up and gratulate him! And what I have learned from the Dungbeetles: If life gives you shit? Roll it up to a ball and ride it!
Well I had a great time and I enjoyed the work they do and learned a lot. And I somehow knew where I want to do my placement… If it worked out – stay tuned. 🙂 Next up is me failing at something. So far I picked up everything just fine and had good results… until those damn Tracks arrived!