Tag Archives: Kruger National Park

Judgement

Judgement can be unjust.


VULTURE COMING IN TO LAND – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa


VULTURES FEEDING – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

It’s a steamy summer evening near the Kruger National Park. Anticipation spikes the sunset as we pull up to the ‘vulture restaurant’ at Moholoholo (“The Very Great One”) rehabilitation centre. A simple patch of sand to us, the spot is significant to the birds. Dozens of them. The moment the carcass thuds to earth, they swoop in from their circling. A bombardment of quietly beating feathers flares dust into the air, muffling soft tearing and crunching sounds. Not a single squawk is uttered.

Each species knows precisely what to do. Larger-beaked prey ‘openers’ jostle beside their cousins who pick the bones clean. The ten minute melee is marked by precision feeding, highlighted with huge hops and tugs of war, as well as the intermittent scampering of a warthog. He’s having dinner too, snatching morsels from the heaving heap.

As swiftly as it began, the meal is over; barely a scrap to mark the spot. A flurry of large bodies lifts off and flies away. No wonder Nature is not strewn with waste. Among the less endearing of her feathered set, vultures sometimes receive a bad rap. Perhaps not the prettiest, they each have a part to play. As we all do.

Quotes to consider:

“Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves” – Euripides

“We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions.” – Ian Percy

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Gustav Jung

“The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” – Georgia Harkness

“. . . It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” – Paulo Coelho

“Although I cannot lay an egg, I am a very good judge of omelettes” – George Bernard Shaw

Here are a few more pics taken by Dave:


VULTURES & MARABOU STORKS – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa


WARTHOG WITH VULTURES – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa


WHITEBACKED VULTURE – Moholoholo, Hoedpsruit, South Africa


WHITEBACKED VULTURE – Moholoholo, Hoedspruit, South Africa

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Rhino horns belong on their heads!

How does a human stoop so low as to slaughter an animal simply to feed their own greed?

It appears that a cartel of poachers has been doing exactly this, close to Johannesburg, by raiding the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve by helicopter at night. They’ve been killing rhino’s, hacking off their horns with chainsaws, and leaving their young distraught and defenceless, if not dead too.

Game rangers took many hours to find the nine-month-old calf of the most recent victim. He has been moved to a camp with other orphaned rhino’s, in part to alleviate his trauma and loneliness, which rhino’s have been rumoured to die from.

About six weeks ago a pregnant rhino and her calf were massacred in the same reserve, for the same reason: to supply the illegal market for rhino horn. A single one is said to fetch around $1,000,000 in China.

There are no adult rhino’s remaining in this park now, but for the record, here is a photo of a youngster that Dave took some time ago:


WHITE RHINO – Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, South Africa Continue reading

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Spreading the word for endangered species…

Big thanks to Jenny at www.andnow.co.za for spreading the word about the EWT Saddle-billed Stork survey in the Kruger National Park, as well as for featuring some of Dave’s images! Have a look at her informative article, which gives great background to these beautiful, endangered birds: Saddle-billed Stork. While you’re there, she’s included an excellent post on another of our sub-continent’s struggling species: the African Wild Dog.

Here are two wild dog pics of Dave’s, taken at the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve here in South Africa, in case you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting them 🙂

MUDDY WILD DOG - Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, South Africa

WILD DOG ANTICS - Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, South Africa

Jenny discovered my post, Saddle-billed Stork Survey, after browsing this blog courtesy of the www.sa-venues.com interview with Dave, so thanks again to them for featuring that!
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Saddle-billed Stork Survey

So how’s this for a bit more synchronicity: just a few days after posting the sequence of images of the Fish Eagle attempting to steal a fish from two Saddle-billed Storks (In Celebration of Birds!), we received an email from the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) – about these very birds.

Here’s their request:

“Join the Endangered Wildlife Trust and SANParks in a photographic survey of Saddle-billed Storks in the Kruger National Park. The survey started on 1 September 2009 and will run for a full calendar year.

This survey forms part of a research project that will be conducted over the next three years on the population status of Saddle-billed Storks, one of Kruger’s rarities, and one of the “Big Six” birds. “Census operations on any species within the boundaries of the Kruger National Park are important to help us get an idea of that species’ status within the context of biodiversity management,” says Marcelle van Hoven, the project’s coordinator. “The last Saddle-billed Stork survey conducted in 1993 suggested that there were less than 60 of these birds left in the Park.”

Saddle-billed Storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) are distinctly identifiable by their large size (they stand about 150 cm tall), sharply contrasting black and white plumage and yellow lappet (saddle-like structure) on the bill. The males have a dark eye with two small yellow wattles at the base of the bill, while females have a yellow eye. These birds can also be individually recognised by the details of the front edge of the black band across the red bill. Side-on photographs of all the birds, from both the left and right angles, will be used in identification during the survey.”

Here are two images taken by Dave at the Okavango Delta, which clearly illustrate the difference between the male and female birds:

MALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
MALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

FEMALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
FEMALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

They go on to say the following:

“Saddle-billed Storks are classified as Endangered in South Africa. They breed slowly and are dependant on extensive wetland habitats, which are under increasing pressure from humans. The flow regimes of rivers passing through the Kruger National Park are expected to change in response to catchment developments outside the Park, and this, together with the removal of artificial water impoundments within the Park, may have a negative impact on this species. In South Africa, Saddle-billed Storks are largely confined to the north-eastern tropical lowland with the majority of the population residing along the riverine habitat in the Kruger National Park. They normally occur in pairs, are strongly territorial and remain in the same area for years.

Visitors who spot a Saddle-billed Stork are asked to take a clear photograph of both sides of the bird’s face and bill and to record information about the sighting including the date, time, location, name of nearby water source, bird’s gender, juveniles present and any other notes that might be relevant. A Saddle-billed Stork census weekend is also planned in the Kruger National Park for later this year, where photographers with the powerful lenses can contribute to this project.

Please keep a special eye out for Saddle-bills and send all sighting details and photographs to storks@ewt.org.za.

This project is sponsored by Tinga Private Game Lodge and Custom African Tours & Safaris.”

Please pass this on to anyone you feel may have the fortune to contribute 🙂
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Reflections

Reflections are everywhere.

HAMERKOP - Kruger National Park, South Africa
HAMERKOP – Kruger National Park, South Africa

Life reflects infinitely more than what is immediately apparent.

Quotes to consider:

“Tell me who you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Creole Proverb

“It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.” – Eric Hoffer
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Cheetah

Talking about launches, Dave & I attended the VW Golf 6 one not long ago. We saw the new advert, directed by Henry-Alex Rubin (an Oscar-nominated documentary director now directing commercials) for the first time. The featured story of Lucky … Continue reading

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