Swaziland part 7

In addition to the bird survey we got to learn several other survey techniques and sampling methods for various animals. On one of the days we helped Morgan set up mammal traps in parallel linear transects. The traps were set up with food inside in the evening and checked early in the morning, to avoid over stressing and overheating when the sun comes out. The next day we got a catch! We identified it as a fat mouse which was weighed, determined age, sex, length, and given an ear tag. Morgan dealt with the animal and showed how to handle her the best way to avoid stress and discomfort. His respect for other animals was inspiring.

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In addition to this we set up camera traps that can be used in the dark. The camera trap takes a photo when movement is detected in the viewfinder. A neat way of seeing things that are active during the night, or are very timid!

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The results are pretty cool! Picture quality wise they are obviously not great, but as a scientific method for getting an idea of what animals are present in an area it is sufficient. Most of these animals are identifiable, and that is the main aim!

 

Another large group of animals is the insects, which we sampled using several methods. Conrad is a leading expect in beetles, and he taught us how to set up pit fall trap in the ground, banana traps in the trees and other more equipment dependant methods. The pit fall traps and banana traps are so easy to make, and the reward is incredibly for minimum effort. The next morning when we checked them they were crawling with insects! The insect diversity there was insane, and they were all so colourful and quirky. Having someone on your trip who is as passionate about insects really makes the difference, you really appreciate their beauty and get your eye in spotting stuff!

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Swaziland

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Another way we saw mammals was on a night drive. To spot animals we would use torches to scan the landscape, looking out for the reflection of the eyes when the torch hit them.

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