I'm going to fast forward to recent events and fill in the gaps as internet access allows. After our cultural and wildlife safari in Botswana we volunteered on the Tuli Conservation project in eastern Botswana for 2 weeks (I'll sent more details later). We left the Tuli project 2 weeks early to join a Rhino and Buffalo darting project back in South Africa. As some of you may know rhino poaching is on the rise. The demand for rhino horn in Vietnam for traditional medicine and more recently as a perceived cure for cancer is driving the demand. There have been 171 rhinos poached in South Africa so far this year. 103 of these rhinos have been poached from Kruger National Park. As security in the the park is tightened, poachers will move to private game reserves. Reserve owners may not have the resources to protect their rhinos. Here's where we come in. The money we pay to join the project will help to pay for darting rhinos and putting collars on them. This way reserve mangers can keep track of them as well as the volunteers who can now track them on a daily basis.
Last Friday we joined a team to dart a Rhino and a Buffalo. Our job was to track the rhino and radio the location to the helicopter pilot on standby. We didn't actually see the rhino but found her tracks so knew she was in the area (photo 1).
Now to collar a buffalo. This time we waited for the helicopter pilot to find the buffalo, dart her and call us in to put the collar around her neck (photo 5).
That's it for now. Hope all is well back home.
Peggy and Marc