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Anja’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 11 Oct 2005

Location: Alicedale/Shamwari, South Africa

MapHad an early start today! The rangers had a meeting so we were on the road by 7.30am.
We met Anthony who is the head of the APU (Anti Poaching Unit) & also responsible for the Ground Hornbill project. He gave a talk on the rhino here at Shamwari & what his unit got up to. It was great to hear him speak as he obviously loves his job & has so much respect for the animals.
The main reason for getting together with him was to learn how to shoot. Oh my word, give a girl a gun... We were using a rifle & shotgun (I'll make sure I put a photo up!) & as safety is paramount here (?) we were using live rounds! Well, blanks are no use if you spot a poacher or a charging rhino! I got high praise indeed for my gunmanship & my rounds were on target! Maybe i need a career change - SWAT team maybe?
We got another chance to sit with the elephant & ID them from the profiling that has already been done. Although we didn't quite notice the one walking up the road behind us until he was really quite close! Got a great photo though!
We spent the afternoon clearing old barbed wire fencing. Yes, more wounds to add to the collection. It was great fun though as the fences are up on the hills where the antelope roam so we had to imagine we were as nimble as them...& not look down! There's also a leopard in the area but he obviously wasn't hungry. We did find the remains of a jumper that definitely looked like it had been mauled by this cat. That'll teach 'em to walk home alone after dark...
So fences cleared - where to put the barbed wire? Yep, we had to sit on it for the ride home. I'm thinking of doing a nice framed collection of photos of everything I've had to balance on during this month!
We decided that this could also be used for the soil erosion project so we went to drop it off & low & behold there were the Wild Dog. Nice to know they're right behind you as you tangle with wire & fence posts! Especially as they're the most successful predator in Africa! I cannot believe how many sightings we've had of them.
So another days work done... Nat, Rach & myself spent a very pleasant evening supping SA wine at Gareths - not too sure about the kudu skin on the living room floor though! (He lectures the dutch students although I think they've just about run him ragged!)