Antares | News update from May 2013
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News update from May 2013

This course was an all male affair, much to the dismay of some of the young lads. There were 6 students attending and they were all from South Africa.
3 of them passed the course and 3 didn’t quite make the required pass mark in the theory aspect of the course. The course was memorable for the many opportunities that the students had to experience during the 88 days.
Some of the highlights included:
2 sightings of wild dogs in one day, followed by a weekend of trying to relocate the one pack which had ventured onto neighbouring farmland where they faced an uncertain future. Sadly we were not able to capture them but they did come back onto the reserve under their own steam in the end and headed back towards the Kruger park which is where they seem to have come from originally.wild dog 2
Spending a day with a small team of birders from the EWT who wanted to ring some raptors. We managed to capture a lizard buzzard and a dark chanting goshawk. This was a new experience for everyone and it was fun to see how these birds were lured in to a trap with a small white mouse.Lizard Buzzard
The students also spent a day walking along the Olifants river conducting a survey of the resident Pel’s fishing owls. This is an annual survey but sadly this year we didn’t find any even though we knew they were in the area as they had been heard calling 2 days beforehand.
We were also privileged to be invited to observe a team infusing the horns of a white rhino with poison as part of the anti-poaching efforts. This policy is being implemented more and more these days in an attempt to slow down the poaching of the majestic animals.
Rhino horn infusion
To date South Africa has lost over 530 rhinos to poaching just in the first 7 months of 2013.
The students were lucky to see many elephant again during this course including a couple of occasions when we had in the region of 100 animals at the waterhole over a short period. Some of the students encountered them on their walks and drives as well which gave them valuable experience as they start of on their new chosen careers. The large herd of buffalo which we had been seeing for so much of the previous courses never showed but we did see a few smaller herds so maybe the big herd has split into smaller units for the winter months. The Big cats managed to avoid us altogether, even though we had photos of them on the camera at the waterhole and we frequently saw tracks and other signs of them on the reserve, both lion and leopard. On the one occasion we were extremely unlucky (or maybe some will say lucky), in that we came across a waterbuck carcass with vultures in the vicinity. We climbed off the vehicle to have a closer look having checked the surrounding area for any possible lions but we never saw any. The next day Mike told us he had been past the carcass 30 minutes after us to find 3 lions close by. They must have been watching us from somewhere and thankfully never tried to defend their kill!
All in all this course can be considered a great success and much enjoyment was had by everyone involved

AUTHOR: manant
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