Pangolin are some of the most endangered and rare animals in Africa. Very few people ever see them. However, we were fortunate to stay at Phinda Bayete Camp and experience vital Pangolin rehabilitation conservation work that they do in collaboration with African Pangolin Working Group. Our donation was towards a scale needed to weigh Pangolin and also to the monitoring and Satellite tagging of these beautifully shy little creatures, enabling researchers to keep them safe.
At Pongola Game Reserve, we provided support to the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project and spent time with passionate conservationist Suzette Boshoff who is the Pongola rhino and elephant monitor and veterinarian Doctor Heinz Kohrs, who is involved in the collaring and notching of black rhino as part of the DNA collection and genetic research project. Our money went towards a collar for a rhino and helicopter fees for monitoring these prehistoric mammals.
There is a magic in South Africa’s world-famous Kruger National Park. It was here, in the heart of the Lowveld of Mpumalanga province, that we participated in elephant conservation work with the Elephants Alive organisation. This allows researchers to monitor the movement of elephants. Elephant DNA samples are also taken, which, in addition to blood and faecal sampling, allows researchers to monitor the diet and health of elephants. To date, Blue Sky Society trust has taken part in 19 collaring events with Dr Michelle Henley and her amazing team, and we were happy to, once again, be in a position to donate an elephant collar during our visit.
We also spent an exciting time with researchers from the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) African Wild Dog Expansion Project in Limpopo, where we donated towards Wild Dog Conservation and donated a camera trap to the Association of Private Nature Reserves (APNR) Ground Hornbill project to help monitor the nests of this endangered bird. Another wild bird project we visited in Limpopo, was EWT’s Birds of Prey Programme where they monitor the extremely rare and seldom seen Pels Fishing Owls. There is also a Vulture rehab programme, where they rescue and rehabilitated birds that have been victims of poisoning incidences. EWT will be a major beneficiary in our upcoming trip in May 2023
Limpopo is famous for its Baobab trees, large, mystical trees, which, due to their root like branches, are often described as “upside-down trees”. These trees seemed to reflect the rather upside-down lives many of us have recently experienced during Covid19 and its aftermath. Happily, it is one of the missions of these trips, to allow women to immerse themselves in nature, right themselves, and feel purposefully alive again. This means that, even though there is a serious aspect to these journeys, it is also about having fun on 4×4 adventures and camping wild. The mopane bushveld was touched with autumn gold, and was also green and thick due to the late rains. This is wildness at its best. Along the beautiful water courses, screeching brown headed parrots, plump green pigeons and the occasional, brown-hooded kingfisher occupied the tall jackal berry trees, while north of Punda Maria camp, the landscape is punctuated with big, eerily lime-green fever trees, majestic mahogany and nyala berry trees.
Now more than ever people are feeling the need to reconnect with themselves and each other, and many of us instinctively know, that nature is a great healer – especially when coupled with companionable fireside laughter, good food, and fresh air. We know we need to slow down, listen to the sound of nature around us, breathe in her fragrances, and enjoy the truly beautiful smaller things in life. This is one sure-fire way of taking care of all those aspects of one’s life, while also making invaluable contributions to conserving and protecting the world we live in.
EXPERIENCE South Africa – If you would like to experience an exciting trip of this nature, then a Journey with Purpose is for you. I am currently planning two expeditions, one a more marine based trip which will include rare sea turtle research work in February 2023, and another which will include more elephant conservation work in July 2023. If you are interested in hearing more and doing something with purpose, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our social media platforms or website www.blueskysociety.org