The third week of the semester saw campus life kick off with a geology lecture and trees and grasses lecture! All long and often considered boring, however are crucial to the path an aspirant field guide must follow in order to embark on their careers. After all, a sound understanding of these factors, and the ability to interpret these, not only determines what wildlife can be expected to be found where, but will also fill in the “gaps” on a game drive should animal sightings be few and far between.
Take note students, the little things are important in order to ensure a well rounded game drive experience. The tree and grasses lecture were then further enhanced by a practical tree identification walk where students were shown and were able to practice the use of the guideline and diagrams in their tree books in order to master this often difficult task.
Several game drives were also the order of the day in order to keep spirits high, since classroom is not always fun, and besides, variety is the spice of life! Particularly when students were rewarded on two separate occasions with incredible cheetah sightings, a vehicle stuck in the mud recovery-sorry Alex, special mention had to be made-and rounded off with a bush walk and a rather tense approach on 2 lions that had been on a recent zebra kill. Outstanding!!!
A presentation on rhino poaching facts and figures was shown one afternoon – as we do with each course. This is done to create awareness and to make sure our students are up to speed so they can answer those difficult, but inevitable, questions regarding rhino poaching, as well as what they can do as individuals, for the cause. As an exercise, the students set out to track “a poacher” (Trainer Conraad), who had left suitable ‘poacher’ clues. This was done to highlight how difficult it actually is to track poachers, and to appreciate the fantastic job the anti-poaching initiatives are doing in South Africa.
The highlight of the week however had to be the much awaited visit to the Khamai reptile park where the students indulged in a reptile orientation lecture and some “hands on” snake handling. Even the one or two students that had a fear for these often (mistakenly) vilified creatures managed to overcome their fears and had their photographs taken while handling a rock Python. Respect! Well done!
All in all, a busy and rewarding week, with the campus swimming pool being well used as a further bonus, especially after the scorching heat we have been experiencing the last few days. Enjoy guys!
Until next time,
Trevor and the Bushwise Team