Hi, my name is Michelle and at the moment I am participating in the Earthwatch Mammal Conservation in South Africa project. For this project we are studying the mammals which are present in the Soutpansberg Mountains at Lajuma research centre.
I have been participating in a lot of activities since I arrived here. On day one I saw a troop of baboons walk past our camp. Later on this day we went on an eco-walk to a waterfall. Along the way we were shown various animal markings (including leopard scratch marks), native plants and scats.
To study the mammals here at Lajuma camera traps are used. On day two we went for a camera run in the jeep to collect the memory cards from each camera and replace the batteries. Some of these cameras were easy to reach as they were beside the road (the leopards like to use the roads) but for others we had to hike. When we got to our final camera after a long hike we checked the card and there had been a leopard there just an hour and a half before us!
On day three I joined the Samago monkey study group. For this study we followed the monkeys through the thick bush from sunrise to sunset recording their behaviour. This troop was very large with 52 members. The monkeys found it easy to move through the very thorny bushes here but it was tricky for us to keep up with them.