DID YOU KNOW – Warthog tusks are actually correctly called tushes. These are canine teeth that grow constantly. The upper ones curve out and up, becoming very large in males. The lower ones grow outwards and are honed to very sharp edges by occlusion against the upper ones.
The third course of Ranger Training has progressed into its second month where our 16 budding rangers are being stretched in their learning capacity to take on first aid skills, wine tasting skills and of course the ever important bush skills. This will all culminate in a series of exams and practical assessments before they know if they achieve their Level 1 Field Guide qualification.
There have to be control measures on the reserve to ensure the number of predators in particular does not extend beyond what the environment can handle. One of the recent initiatives is lioness contraception and our volunteers were lucky enough to assist Dr Johan Joubert with administering the drug to one of our young females. By managing the population of lions we can avoid unnecessary over-population measures in years to come.
Springbok ewes give birth all year round but peaks from July to January. Shamwari has had a dry winter period and we welcomed the early spring rains. Accompanied with the rains came incredible sightings of the synchronized lambing of springbok ewes and we were privileged to witness new born lambs taking their first steps. After birth, instinct tells the unstable lamb to lie flat in the grass, with its ears flat, while mom grazes the plains. The lamb’s camouflage allows it to stay undetected from predators and the mother can continue grazing, only returning to it to allow suckling. Once the lamb becomes stronger it joins other lambs, forming a crèche for the next three weeks.