We started our day by returning to our routine of a 6:30 breakfast – we were all thankful that it was not 5:45 again…
In the morning we had a lecture by Ms. Tammy Smith, and ecology personnel here at Amakhala Game Reserve. Tammy taught us all about vegetation management within Amakhala including how it is measured and what the measurements mean. We then put this information into practice by completing our own vegetative analysis. We performed a grass survey in one section and another browsing vegetative analysis. This took us approximately 3 hours, much slower than the traditional time it takes !
While trying to fill in some time before lunch, us students were shown a traditional South African game. The premise of the game is to see how far you can get an object. The twist? The ‘object’ is a piece of Kudu dung and the process of ‘throwing’ it, is via your month – aka spitting! The students were given a piece of Kudu dung to participate – 5 students participated! What an experience. The name of the game? Bok Drol Spoeg which directly translates to buck poo-pellet spit.
In the evening many students worked on their individual study projects by completing data entry, performing data analysis and project literature research. One group of students also went into the field to finish collecting their data – the ungulate people.
Those who went to collect field data made a pitstop at the Amakhala bowma where their newest cheetah is acclimating to her new home. This pen allows new animals to become familiar with their surroundings and new ‘house mates’ in a safe way. She will be released freely into the park soon. The bowma also drastically reduces the stress levels of the animal being acclimated by reallocating their homing instinct so that the cheetah won’t instinctively return to her previous home.
To finish off the night we had another braai and a bonfire!
~Katie, Katie & Stephanie