Monday – Tough, beautiful job
After a 14-hour journey, I’m back from Lusaka. I did not have many days off since returning from Holland in August, so a break was much needed. A break to realise how incredible the past months have been.
So much cool stuff has happened, planned and unplanned, expected and unexpected. And man oh man… ZCP Liuwa is quite the team! The work we have managed to pull off as a team is incredible and we have some good stories and, most importantly, a gigantic pile of collected, filled out datasheets to prove for it.
Without wanting to blow our own horn too much: We have worked damn hard, tirelessly, every day. From sunrise to sunset (or from sunset to sunrise), from Monday to Sunday, through near-freezing cold and blistering heat, through loose sand and water, through rain and sunshine, through miles and miles of driving and through hours of waiting.
Now that the rain-season has come, we can take it easier for a few months. The rain will flood the plains, limiting our movements drastically. Nevertheless, we will stay in Liuwa and will do whatever we can. The animals are not resting and so neither are we!
Tuesday – Little fairies
One of my favourite start-of-rainy-season things are the termites (and by this I don’t mean the part where they eat literally everything). The first rains are their sign to go and explore the world. Well, the males at least. One day, after a good shower, all the males in the colony develop wings (there is no Red Bull involved in this, by the way) and then, as if someone blows a whistle, they all crawl up and leave the safety of their underground homes.
It may come as no surprise that this spectacle attracts many animals that can’t resist such an easy meal. Toads, birds, bats, dragonflies, ants, lizards, monkeys and many others feast on the unfortunate termites that are not fast enough to spread their wings. But the ones that are fast get to live. Like a fountain of little fairies they fly up, while their women wave them goodbye. They fly and fly and fly until their wings fall off. If they are really lucky, they land in a new place to start their own new colony.
Wednesday – The special wild beast
This is the story of a wildebeest.One that we were very fond of. A bit of a weirdo but very easy to work with.
Wildebeest 11 (WB-11) could be found at the same spot throughout the rain season and herds are overrated if you ask her. Sometimes she would hang out with a sexy bull but mostly she would just stand out. Alone. On the plains. Because of this characteristic we would recognise her from far away and then to make it even more perfect, her herd count was the easiest ever as we would never count more than 2 individuals in her ‘herd’.
Something happened though.
She went out with a bang, and a highly annoying mortality beep on her collar. This time it took me 2 hours to find (what was left of) her.
Maybe it was her loneliness. Maybe she ran into the wrong hyena. What it was we will never know, but WB-11 is no more.