Anti-poaching, road maintenance and elephant branch collection

We all woke up at 5.30 to head off on an anti-poaching patrol at 6. This  involved spreading out along a road, with ten metres between each of us. We then all plunged into the bush, looking for wire snares and other poaching traps. It was vital we called to the two people on either side of us constantly so we didn’t get lost. Overall we found two snares which are simply bits of wire tied round a tree. When an animal is trapped in the wire snare they will just keep running forwards, and eventually their injuries kill them if they are not freed. The unfortunately don’t think to back out of the snare once they are panicked. Clearly one  snare had been successful as there was an impala skull in it. After two hours we all emerged out of the bush with many cuts and scratches from all the acacia bushes. 

A diagram of a snare. Image from: http://www.thebushcraftstore.co.uk

At breakfast we were all really hungry and I had two bowls of cereal. Then at 9 we headed out on road clearance with the slashers and machetes. Some took shovels to help fill in holes in the road created by vehicles and the rains. It was tiring work and I had quite a few  cheese and tuna sandwiches at lunch. Here it seems to be normal to put onion in your tuna mayonnaise.

Road maintenance. Image from: http://www.theleap.co.uk.

After lunch our chores group was on elephant branch collection, while the rest did more road clearance. I felt a bit helpless as the two elephant handlers did most of the chopping and all we did was pull them along to the trailer and lift them in. We saw a warthog and one of the guys said it was ‘a beer barrel on legs’. We also saw impala, kudu and wildebeest. Then one of the girls drove the tractor back to the elephants.

Another group on the tractor. Image from: http://www.theleap.co.uk

We got back to Gazebo at 4 and were allowed to relax for the rest of the day. We had all been working hard on a hot day since 6am and I know I was certainly longing for a rest. The guys discovered a great game of sliding along the wet table into the pool, sending water everywhere when they splashed in. It looked like great fun, but most of us avoided getting soaked by moving away, and I went to watch from the lapa. We had a lovely chilled evening and after the earlier than usual start went to bed early.

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