Posted July 19, 2022 in News
Since April, UmPhafa has been filled with an abundance of different activities, new arrivals and ranger dedication! Find out what has been happening on the reserve over the last few months.
New Species Alert
We have conducted two monthly game counts this quarter (April to June 2022) to monitor our animals on the reserve. After conducting the game counts, we discovered numbers were low, however we think this is due to animals spending more time in thicker bush during the winter period. Not only have we been counting our animals, but we have introduced and released 80 Blesbok and six Bushbuck onto the reserve. Whilst completing our game count, we were excited to have recorded one new species, the Swainsons Spurfowl!
Since April, we have setup seven new beehives on UmPhafa! Bushveld Bees came to help us set up our existing hives up correctly and remove a swarm of bees that were living in our lodge. We had seven full working hives, in a new position and doing well. Unfortunately, we have lost two hives to a honey badger who got lucky and had a feast! During this quarter, we also said goodbye to the two female African wild dogs that stayed in our predator boma for 11 weeks.
Training Staff Members
To ensure that our team are fully equipped to carry out their daily tasks, we conducted training with our Maintenance Team on the correct use of brush cutters, chainsaws and woodchippers which have been used extensively to create larger firebreaks this year. Four of our rangers received first aid training whilst the Management Team received training on Cmore, a new Security system.
As a team, our rangers have patrolled 5092km around the reserve, but despite their best efforts, we have had some poaching incidents. Poachers have gained access onto the reserve up to six times with dogs despite efforts which resulted on five animals being taken and the removal of two snares! UmPhafa is now associated with the Game Ranger Association, who have funded and donated 12 pairs of Jim Green shoes for our rangers. This donation is fantastic and will help our rangers to perform their patrols.
Caring for the Reserve
We were able to start burning this quarter and since have started perimeter burns along the fence line, with up to 12km burnt so far. We had to start a month later than usual due to the unusually high amount of late rainfall, which caused our vegetation to remain green much later into the year. We sprayed 44 hectares of the reserve with chemicals to stop plants growing back once the firebreaks had been cut. The team have fixed 10 Mitre Drains and created 20 new ones on the roads to reduce erosion. We have brushed backed 1 hectare of land and injected patches of prickly pear with chemical control which has successfully killed it off.
UmPhafa has also had a fruitful pecan harvesting season with eight ladies spending 10 days collecting pecan nuts. In total they managed to collect 815kg of nuts and we made R12903 in profit which will go towards buying more camera traps!
Return of Interns
Our internship program has successfully hosted 34 students from April to June 2022. Each group learned lots about the reserve, game management and conservation. Every individual loved their time on UmPhafa and have left with everlasting memories.
Lastly our social media is gaining traction with 145 new Facebook followers this quarter. Our Facebook page sitting at a total of 3541 followers whilst our Instagram profile has gained 78 new followers totalling up to 935 followers. This is great news and will help us to share regular updates to those wishing to learn more about UmPhafa as well as build a digital awareness.
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