It is that time of year again when birds of a feather flock together and migrate. Indeed, some of our avian summer visitors have already arrived on MalaMala Game Reserve and many more are on their way. It would be a shame not to take a moment to research and appreciate the awe-inspiring journeys that many of these birds have undergone to get into your viewfinder.
Disney recently released their much-anticipated remake of the Lion King. The original movie (first screened in 1994), was a huge success in almost every corner of the world. Indeed, many rangers like myself watched it when we were little urchins and it has remained close to our hearts ever since. If you think I’m exaggerating I’d suggest you put it to the test by humming any one of the songs in the movie next to a ranger and they’ll probably carry the tune or provide you with the lyrics!
For as long as I can remember I have been enraptured by nature. The fascination of how an ant colony selects a new queen, how trees create food, why a zebra has stripes or how a bat can pinpoint a mosquito in the dark. My journey into conservation although inevitable in retrospect, was neither simple nor easy.
Owls are synonymous with darkness and for this association they have bared the brunt of human superstition in several cultures. These birds are shrouded in mystique and myth but once you start to unravel the truth of their biology and understand the essence of the owl, you will soon become enchanted by their charms.
We are proud to announce that one of our rangers has recently had one of his photographs chosen to feature in the Remembering Wildlife series of coffee table books. A series which was created by wildlife photographer Margot Raggett after she was moved to take action upon seeing a poached elephant in Kenya.
A series of repeated low grunting notes, not unlike the sound of a distant lion, greets the sunrise and adds some bass to the dawn chorus. A flock of prehistoric-looking birds emerge from the thickets into open grassland and stalk across the ground like undertakers at a funeral, their bright-red necks a startling contrast to their solemn black bodies.
As rangers we are all passionate about animals and most of us have pets at our homes away from the reserve. However, there is an understanding that one must undertake when becoming a ranger; while we spend hours every day admiring and watching the animals around us, we will never get to touch them or form any sort of affectionate physical bond.
With the onset of our dry season MalaMala has become quite… well, dry. And dusty. The rains will only fall again in November and so, in the coming months, animals must endure ever increasing hardships. These include less water availability as well as significantly reduced grazing and browsing opportunities.
The giraffe, an animal so unique to Africa, is silently going extinct. Many of us have been blissfully unaware of the dire predicament in which these ungainly beasts find themselves.
Often, when we ask our guests which animals they’re most hoping to see, we hear the usual ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo) and then, almost always, this is followed by the giraffe.