An update from our Primate Release Project Manager, Amanda, including more volunteers, elephants galore and black rock sundowners!
July has been filled with lots of visitors, both human and animal! We’ve had another few volunteer field assistants, who after volunteering at LWC for a few weeks, decided to try their skills out here in the bush. It’s continued to be a pleasure to have them up here in the otherwise rather lonely camp up here in Kasungu NP. The volunteers also always seem to be glad to escape the somewhat (and it’s all very relative) frenzy of the Centre and Lilongwe to the quiet and calm of Kasungu. It’s even extra special having volunteers come from the Centre so that after observing the animals in the enclosures there and working in Orphan Care, they are able to see the end result of all that hard work; freedom back into the wild for some of the animals. It’s great to share with them the stories of the released baboons, ones like Jojo, who spent years of her early life chained to a tree and was then rescued and rehabilitated by LWC, who we were then looking at roaming happy and free.
Every volunteer field assistant has been outstanding. Coming to work, despite the cold early mornings, the long days on foot, the afternoons filled with sweat bees that relentlessly fly in our eyes and ears, always with enthusiasm and a good attitude. This past month, it was Alba and George, both having been at the Centre for a couple of months already. It was great fun having them use the telemetry to track the troop, and as they got used to the subtlety of the signals, sometimes walking in circles to find them. I liked to test their bush navigation skills by asking them where they thought the car was throughout the day, something that is more difficult than it sounds after walking in zigzags through a very landmark-less forest. Good thing we always had a GPS!
We have had lots of wildlife visitors around camp recently as well. Since the bush is becoming drier and drier and the water in the dambos is drying up, the dam where our camp sits attracts a wide variety of wildlife in the park. On days off, herds of up to 20 elephants have come right through camp, peeking into the kitchen, blocking the path to the bathrooms, knocking over shading trees. We watch them, and take countless photos, as they drink from and swim in the dam. Many birds also hang around, such as fish eagles, kingfishers, ducks and others. Other regular visitors include hippos, puku, and the occasional kudu. Wildlife visitors, especially the elephants, provide entertainment for hours and hours on days off.
At the end of the volunteers’ stay here in Kasungu, I like to take them up to Black Rock, a large rocky structure that overlooks the National Park. You can see the tree-tops all the way to Zambia! We sit on the top overlooking the vast wilderness beneath and try out our baboons calls, just to try and see if any baboons in the area might respond (sadly, they never do). We enjoy the classic African sundowner tradition of a few beers as the sun sets over Kasungu.
If you’d like to sign up to join the Primate Release team in Kasungu please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information