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Tracks, tracks and more tracks!
Submitted by Bushwise on Sat, 2012-03-31 05:40
This week the Mahlahla group were fortunate enough to host the first ever Cybertracker course here at Bushwise! (With the Garonga group to host their's in a week's time!). With everyone very excited, we set off on Monday afternoon to have a small glimpse into the wonderful world of tracking. The general consensus was that we were just going to identify easy tracks left by mammals, but we were so wrong! In our very first lesson we focussed mostly on how to look at tracks and in the process covered mammal, bird and even insect tracks! We were definitely in for something this week!
The next two days were focussed on how to identify different tracks, how to determine how big an animal is simply by looking at the track, and classifying them into different categories. Through a few simple steps, right before our eyes, we could start developing an image of what had happened. Animals moving, running, sleeping, hunting or simply looking around, all have different tracks and signs.
So, with our newly gained insight into this, we can now create these fantastic stories of what is happening and has happened in the bush, and all that without even seeing a single animal! As the week progressed we starting working on the skill of also following tracks, which is a lot more difficult than it sounds! But it did pay off, as we saw 2 cheetah and 4 young sub-adult lions. One of our trailing walks was spent following 2 male lions, not with the intention of viewing them, but just to see what lions get up to when no one is looking! We followed the males for about two and a half hours, seeing all the tracks and signs they had left. Seems like they were rather busy chasing wildebeest around, sleeping and marking their territories!
I must admit, one of our all-round favourite memories of this week was whilst busy looking at some tracks, we noticed something in the distance. Two Rhinos were slowly walking our way! Completely unaware of our presence, they kept on feeding in our direction across a open area, and before long, we took to some cover and waited for them to eat themselves closer to us. Soon they were right in front of us, and as relaxed as can be! The younger one of the 2 even decided that she was even going to have a nap in front of us. As you can see from the attached photo, everybody really enjoyed this particular walk and just watching the two rhinos making their way to us for a change!
Unfortunately, the Cybertracker course is nearing its end with two more lessons to go and then the all important practical evaluations, which will provide some of our students with yet another industry important qualification. Soon its our Garonga students turn! Good luck students!
Keep an eye on our facebook page for updates on how the course is going! www.facebook.com/bushwise
Till next time!
Charles and the Bushwise Mahlahla Team