August News – Duba Plains Camp, Botswana

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Stories around the fire

Stories would be told around the fire in the evenings with a sip of Gin and tonic, this time sitting a little further from the blazing fire as we see winter away and welcoming spring.

“OT don’t you think the pangolins are the remains of the Dinosaurs”. Before getting a nicely structured answer, everybody burst out in laughter as the guest continues describing the shape of the pangolin and why they think it’s related to the dinosaur.

We will then explain that Pangolins are very rare to see and are normally only seen in the late afternoons and early mornings as they feed mostly in the cover of the darkness.

The name pangolin comes from the Malay word pengguling meaning “something that rolls up”. They belong to the Order Pholidota of which their Family Manidae is the only living one which means if not taken care of they may become extinct like Dinosaurs.

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The Duba Buffalo

The buffalos are on their normal routine of going to paradise and this month again they have been gone for  a while. On their arrival back from paradise they were welcomed by the Tsaro pride, this time taking down a bull buffalo. The fact that we cannot drive to paradise because of the deep channels to cross, Spike took time to explain to guests about the movement of these beasts.

“Duba Plains covers 30 000 hectares of land. This comprises of a few islands that we used to cover a decade ago before the area received great floods that brought permanent water. Some of the seasonal channels became permanent making it hard to access some of the islands. Some of the dry areas changed into permanent marshes. Paradise Island is one of the islands that became inaccessible. Buffalos have been going to these islands all their life as the levels of water has never been a hindrance and we used to follow them to these islands. The marshes make it impossible to drive through to certain islands. The fact is that the buffalos are always within the Duba concession though we occasionally miss them in the area. Paradise is part of their home range.”

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The loss of cubs

The movement of the buffalos can also be blamed for the loss of lion cubs. When the buffalos have crossed over to paradise, lions will occasionally cross over to continue their hunt. They will have cross through deep water with their few months old cubs making them vulnerable to big crocodiles that stay in these waters. 4 months ago we’ve celebrated the birth of 2 male cubs in the Tsaro pride and since the return of the pride from Paradise Island the cubs were never seen again and it is suspected they’ve been killed.

The dry season has come in a little early because of the little rainfall received the last season. We’ve seen the elephants come back to the main channels in big number which is a sign that water has dried up early in the ponds. Most trees are now losing leaves and their only option now is aquatic vegetation. The jackal-berry fruits are still favoured by elephants with the help of baboons dropping them down.

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Spring comes with excitement for birders as we have seen our first migratory birds coming through. We have seen the likes of the yellow-billed kite recently coming back and we are highly anticipating the return of Carmine bee-eaters, European roller, European bee-eater and last but not least the ruffs.

geoff

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