From December 30th until January 10th a group of nine Earthwatch volunteers from the United States and Canada came to help with the Primate and Predator Project and learn about mammal conservation in the Soutpansberg Mountains.
This team of volunteers immersed themselves in our project and became one of our most productive groups yet. They tagged an Earthwatch record of nearly 48,000 camera trap images, counted a total of 22,832 leaves for our monthly phenology data collection, completed 10 vegetation plots, washed 55 predator scats, and finished our baboon trap painting just in time for trapping in February. The group was also able to help out with The Eco Schools Project in nearby Kutama where they played sustainability games with local 7th graders.
It wasn’t all hard work though, as volunteers spent days in the forest as temporary members of our Samango troops, enjoyed one of the most spectacular views in the Soutpansberg Mountains on the top of Mt. Lajuma, witnessed vulture tagging at a nearby game lodge, and came eye to eye with a number of local wildlife species including baboons, warthog, bushbuck, bushbabies, kudu and mongoose!
In just 12 days the group of volunteers was able to help us catch up with nearly a month’s worth of data collection and analysis and had tons of fun while doing it! With our busy upcoming months, the Primate and Predator Team here at Lajuma cannot thank Ron, Kristopher, Kristen, Kristine, Mike, Heather, Liz, Nate and Steve enough for the work that they did.