Posted October 11, 2022 in News
As usual UmPhafa has been busy since July 2022, with a range of activities from bio-diversity studies to hosting universities to ongoing maintenance. Take a look at what we have been up to!
All Things Great and Small
We have completed 3 game counts this quarter. The exciting news was the increase in Eland with over 15 babies being born. However, counts have been on the low side due to the animals still hiding in the bushes waiting for the summer heat. 7 female bushbuck were also introduced to join the 6 bushbuck from the last quarter. While these animals are naturally shy they have been spotted once or twice. Our new Bio-Diversity studies have already identified 4 new species – 2 insects and 2 plants: a species of Gaudy Grasshopper (Ochrophlebia Cafra) and a Dragonfly species, the Yellow Veined Widow (Palpopleura jucunda). The two flowers were the Round Konana (Diclis rotundifolia) and the Golden Everlasting (Helichrysum aureonitens).
Busy Field Rangers
The rangers have patrolled 5277.32km this quarter and have unfortunately, been kept very busy due to a massive increase in incursions compared to previous quarters. As with all countries, the cost of living is far exceeding the monthly wage and therefore, communities are resorting to crime. Poachers have been inside the reserve 29 times with or without dogs and the Field Rangers managed to foil a further 54. We lost 19 animals during this time to poaching, mostly warthog but some kudu and porcupine. 20m of fence was also stolen which we replaced immediately to stop any animals going outside the Reserve.
6 local Ladies helped us to harvest our thatch – in 2 weeks a total of 473 bundles were collected and the ladies got to take some home to mend their roofs.
School & University Visits to UmPhafa
As a part of her studies for the year, Laura our Student Intern Co-ordinator gave lessons to over 400 students on recycling at a local school: M L Sultan. As a reward for their hard work, the top 17 learners & 3 teachers were invited to the reserve for a game drive and lunch. The students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed their morning.
We had 37 soil science students with 2 Professors from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal spending 4 days on the reserve conducting soil studies for their practical part of their diploma’s. The Researchers joined us again to investigate the migration of the Mottled Eel up and down the Tugela River.
Caring for the Reserve
Perimeter burns were the priority this quarter to protect the Reserve from any wild fires coming from other properties. In total 306 hectares have been burnt which also included some block burns to improve the grazing for the animals of UmPhafa.
With the increasing threat of foot & mouth spreading in Kwa-Zulu Natal the decision was taken to build disinfectant wheel washes and walk throw troughs for any visitors to the Reserve at our main gates. This has meant that the maintenance team has received a lot of training on electric, plumbing, plastering and block laying.
In addition, the team have continued to spray and remove alien plants, repair several roads that were eroding, installed a new solar submersible pump in the river to feed a nearby dam. We have continued to improve the accommodation for our Rangers and have rebuilt their accommodation with natural and recycled materials harvested from the Reserve.
Our social media continues to grow with over 1000 followers on Instagram. We have posted 19 updates this quarter and are getting an average of 109 likes per Instagram post. As usual the leopard posts seem the most followed!
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