Reserve Activities - May 2022

Historically May is the beginning of the drier winter months, as we have so often mentioned our weather patterns have become more and more bizarre.

The 68 mm of rain that fell during this month lends credence to that pattern. A cut off low which was hovering over the Lowveld in the later part of the month contributed 59.5 mm to that total over a period of four days. This was very unusual weather as our long term average until May 2021 was 5.8 mm. Minimum and maximum temperatures were 12 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius. The humidity range was 65-90%.

Firebreaks around the Members bungalows continued as the priority task. The rainfall mentioned above played havoc with this as some of the perennial grasses seeded again and these areas were re-visited for further clean ups. This work is 90% complete. This work will continue to the hides and bomas as well as the administration centre.

We have now reached the ninth month since the last elephant breakage through the perimeter fence. The current pressure from these animals is immense, each morning has new signs along Fence Road of elephant bulls’ presence as the try and unpuzzle the new structure. Damages to the fence in this month was due to a buffalo bull ‘horning’ one of the uprights which caused a dead short.

River crossings were attended to as needed. Elephant impact to vegetation and roads cleared as needed, the bulk of this work was on Goedehoop.

A historical issue with hyena presence around the camp area and bungalows has again reared its head. The varying reports received have witnessed these animals entering unsecured and unlocked bungalows and, in some cases, attempting to remove items from open parked vehicles. I am of the firm opinion it is multiple animals and not restricted to a single animal, learned behaviour through the various generations of hyena which is clear.

Our human footprint at Ingwelala is a reality, this cannot be disputed, any action taken, or any behaviour by any individual should be viewed holistically, and never in isolation, as this has implications for all users. The Gate Letter draws special attention to every User’s responsibility to ensure that animals are not fed either deliberately or inadvertently:

"Your attention is drawn to the official policy regarding the feeding of animals on the property. This practice is forbidden. There is a worrying and potentially dangerous trend developing with regards to the feeding of game in the Members areas and surrounds, this is specifically related to the nyala and warthog. Please keep your distances from these animals as far as possible.

There is an adult hyena that continues to try and enter bungalows in search of opportunistic food availability. If we consciously open and close doors behind us to prevent these random opportunities all together, we can modify this hyena’s behaviour and thereby avoid any potential human/wildlife conflict that may result in an unfavourable outcome for the hyena by having to request a destruction permit from MTPA.”

As a member correctly stated to me in conversation during the week, as humans visiting a Protected Area we are in the animals’ space, our behaviour should be humble and unintrusive in every sense of the word. We are in their kingdom, and we should serve them wisely and responsibly.

There is a further request in the Gate Letter to please assist by taking photographs of any leopards you may encounter on the reserve, especially those in the proximity of camp. Clear facial, and left and right side body pictures of the individuals will assist us hugely in creating identikits for all leopards. Pictures can be e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for attention of Jo Baard. Please support this initiative.

 

 

by Chris Mayes; Photo: Ingid Passier

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