Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday 20th July

Sunday we finally got a chance to rest from all the excitement with a late, big British Breakfast.  Afterwards, Dr Fowlds lectured to us about general capture procedures and equipment.  Then we drove right into the theory of pharmacology; an important part of wildlife medicine and the basis of a lot of our work. Understanding pharmacology is an essential part of what we are doing here because different species require different drugs and doses depending on their size and metabolism.  It is also important to know the safety procedures of using certain drugs; for example opioids in humans are metabolized much quicker and at lower concentrations, therefore it is important to take caution when dealing with these drugs.

As always, the plan of the day changed quickly, and we were called away to assist with another immobilisation and relocation.  This time we were dealing with the Red Hartebeest, a common Antelope here in South Africa where the males can reach up to 150 kg!  The Hartebeest get their name due to their hoof shape being heart-shaped, and with a little imagination, one can see a heart shape in their horns!  For this procedure Dr Fowlds was up in the helicopter again darting 7 males, while down on the ground our three teams were prepped to chase them down!  Once we got to each Hartebeest we had to douse them in water due to the warm weather and the Hartebeest’s tendency to run very far from the helicopter.  Once they were loaded on the truck we continued to monitor the anaesthesia by taking a respiration rate, heart rate, and temperature.  When we made it back to the transport truck we gave each Hartebeest some antibiotics, multivitamins, and additional tranquilisers for their continued journey.  Everything went smoothly, and the Hartebeest made it to the truck safely!  It was another successful day in the office!

After our adventure we went on another game drive! This time, we saw Giraffe, Black Wildebeest, Impala, Black-Headed Herring, Glossy Starling, Hoopoe, male and female Kudu, Warthog, Zebra, and caught glimpses of a Cheetah.  We were also taken to a Boma where we were able to spot the female Leopard!  It is believed that she is pregnant, and it is preferable that she gives birth on the reserve so that she and her cubs will recognise the reserve as her territory and stay close by once released.  It is said that a game reserve never actually owns a Leopard; they just visit!  Upon seeing the leopard we have now finally seen the big five: Elephant, Rhino, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo.  These animals are known as the big five because they were, and still are, highly sought after animals due to them being the hardest to hunt, not, as sometimes thought because they are the biggest in size, but instead of shooting them with a gun, we shot them with a camera, the way it should be!  Ecotourism: conservation for the 21st century! Overall it was an exciting end to an exciting day!  

On to our next adventure tomorrow!

Written by Barbara Ferreira & Nicole Oldfather

1 comment:

  1. Glad you've managed to see the big five so early on in the trip. Great photos as usual, Jo! :-) x