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One week until I leave for Botswana predator research trip

One week until I leave for Botswana predator research trip

Old Apr 16th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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One week until I leave for Botswana predator research trip

This was just thrown together at the end of March but I leave a week from today for the preliminary phase of a Kalahari predator/livestock conflict research effort.

This will be a short trip:

Depart April 23
Overnight Joburg - Mondior Concorde at Emperor's Complex ($105!)
6 nights at Grassland Bushman Lodge
Arrive home May 2

I'm very excited to visit this area as I have not seen any postings on it. Grassland Bushman is against the western border of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. There is a bushman village very close by and I am told they still hunt and gather in this area and that you can accompany them when gathering, as well as witness ceremonies and dances when they occur, mostly unplanned for tourists, thus you never know what you might experience and if one is extremely lucky you may be there when a trance dance occurs.

They also have horse back safaris here, ranging from one hour rides to 3 day camping safaris.

This is supposed to be a prime area for Kalahari wildlife with big herds of eland, oryx, and wildebeest as well as the nocturnal desert specialists like brown hyena.

All that said I have a lot of work to do so I'm not sure how the balance of work and tourist activities will be as work is definitely the priority. Beyond the CKGR and Grasslands reserve area is all large cattle ranches and the easy livestock prey and water provided draw predators out of the CKGR. The area has frequent lions, wild dogs, and cheetah that often prey on the livestock causing large financial losses to ranchers, and predators are frequently killed due to the conflict. The Grassland Bushman operation, working with the Department of Wildlife, have rescued a number of lions and wild dogs that would have been destroyed from these conflicts and tried to relocate them back into the CKGR but they would simply return to the cattle ranches. The lodge currently houses some lions and wild dogs in large enclosures as they strive to find solutions to the conflict with livestock, which is where I come in. I believe all the circumstances here may make this the ideal situation to study a potential conflict solution that I am very interested in. I should know much, much more when I return and I will pass on a report for tourist use as best that I can.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 10:15 AM
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Bill,

Have a great trip and I am looking forward to read your report.

Greetz,

Johan
 
Old Apr 16th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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Have a great trip PB, sounds very interesting and looks like you'll have guaranteed dog and lion sightings!
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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Trust you enjoy an interesting trip and get some time for "distractions".

If you get a chance I would really appreciate it if you could report back on any of the smaller predators' ( eg Caracal) existance, especially if you are able to do some of your work under the cover of darkness.

I am hoping to revisit later this year and want to combine something in the Kalahri or Tuli block alongside revisiting the leopard/predator project I visited previously in SA.

Look forward to hearing about your trip. In the meantime I am off looking for Lynx in Spain
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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I was wondering when you were leaving!

Good luck with the project. Am anxious to hear about what you learned and how the trip went.

Safe travels!
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Have a great trip...
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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Have a good and safe trip. Looking forward to your report.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 01:05 PM
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Lucky.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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sounds great, PB - hope it's another great discovery and since you mention CKGR, sounds like a possibly good cheetah destination.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Very exciting! Have a great time.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 11:12 PM
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Thanks everyone! I am very excited at this opportunity and hope it goes well. Full report to follow for sure.

Halpaed: I will definitely report on any smaller carnivores as well -- caracal, that would be outstanding! I would really like to hear about your trip for Lynx in Spain too -- good luck!! If you don't mind please send me an email after that trip as I would love to hear the details about where you go and how it works out.
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 03:51 AM
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Happy travels, Bill!
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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Great news. Another trip so soon after your TZ trip, and to an area you've not been to before. Bring back lots of stories and photos, please.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Have a great trip Bill! <)
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Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 07:28 PM
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Enjoy your trip. I lived in Ghanzi and have been to Grasslands. The owner, Willie DeGraaf has a few lions in a large enclosure. Instead of shooting the lions that were preying on his cattle he caught them with ropes off the back of a pickup truck. I’ve got a picture of two big holes in the hood of the vehicle.

Enjoy the experience with the Bushmen, there a special group of people. Just to clarify things, they no longer live the “old way” of hunting and gathering but have joned the world’s cash economy. The Bushmen work for Willie as cattle herders, etc and entertain you for additional income. Any one of them stills knows more about the bush then all the readers of this forum combined but they are a generation of two out of full time hunting and gathering and are rapidly losing this knowledge. I’m working with the D’kar Trust, a non-profit in the village of D’kar which is at the turn off for Grasslands to promote a program to get the old hunters to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. Tourism ventures like Grasslands are great and help to preserve this precious knowledge.

Peter Durkin
African Excursions
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Old Apr 25th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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PB, are livestock guarding dogs ever used in Africa?
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Old Apr 25th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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Spanish lynx--now that's an expedition in the making!

It's almost departure time, PB Did you even bother to unpack from the last trip?
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 07:40 AM
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PB's well into his trip already. I got an email from him on the 23rd during his layover in D.C. while awaiting his flight to Joburg.

Lucky him!
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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Can't wait to hear the report on this trip.

Peter, your comments are extremely interesting, especially as they relate to the line between an authentic cultural tradition and entertainment for tourists. I'd love to learn more about how the old traditions are relevant to the current lives of the San peoples. Can you recommend any books that discuss this?

Is it really just a generation or two ago that some portion of the Bushmen population were still hunting and gathering as their primary way of life? Like many Americans, I became enamored by the Bushmen culture through the Gods Must Be Crazy movies, which I first saw when I was in high school in the late '80s. (Insert all disclaimers about romanticization of undeveloped cultures, etc., etc., here). Traveling to witness this culture first hand has been vaguely on my "to-do" list since then. In some sense, it boggles the mind that a culture that has been intact for thousands of years would completely change in a span of two decades (if in fact that is true); on the other hand, it is entirely predictible. It's absolutely fascinating -- as is the question of what it means to preserve the old traditions in the context of that culture. As a modern observer (i.e, tourist), we may want them to preserve the "exotic" parts of their culture in part because it is entertaining and/or educational for us; and we may want the old traditions to having meaning to the participants because that's what makes the experience "authentic" for us. But that concept of authenticity -- and even the concept of gaining meaning from traditions -- may be totally foreign in the context of their culture. And the parts of their culture that we find particularly interesting or colorful (say, their traditional dress), may have no particular significance to them. I'd love to learn more about this; if you have any suggestions for good information sources, please let us know!

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