The staff and management of Lapalala Wilderness rounded off 2019 with a fantastic day of team building. The event was organised by management and hosted by the Lapalala Wilderness School. It was a fun way to get to know each other outside of our work environment.
The focus of the day was not on competing and winning, but on working together and helping each other out. It was a day well spent and we thank the Lapalala Wilderness School for organising an excellent programme.
Lapalala concluded a busy translocation season this month, with the release of almost 200 disease-free buffalo into the reserve. This month also saw the translocation of 50 roan antelope into the western section of the reserve.
The re-introductions form part of our conservation breeding programmes and will help to further restore the natural biodiversity of the reserve.
VETERINARY VOLUNTEER FROM ITALY
Italian veterinary student, Carlo Andrea Cossu, joined Lapalala’s veterinary team as a volunteer assistant from 2-19 December. Carlo is a final year student at the University of Padua, Italy.
His passion for wildlife, proactive attitude and enthusiastic spirit made him a valuable addition to the team. We wish Carlo every success in his veterinary career and we hope to see him back in Lapalala one day.
Lapalala is rehabilitating two immature lizard buzzards (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) that were rescued from a village near the reserve.
The birds had been removed from their nest as chicks and were kept captive in unsuitable conditions. They were discovered by one of our quick-thinking staff who brought them to the reserve.
One of the birds was missing two toenails, which were most likely cut in an attempt to prevent injury to the handlers. Once these beautiful birds have developed strong flight muscles and can demonstrate the ability to catch prey, they will be released back into nature.
CHRISTMAS STAFF PARTY 2019
With 2019 all but over and everybody anticipating the arrival of the festive season, Lapalala hosted the annual Christmas staff party at Kolobe on 12 December. Everybody was treated to a day filled with fun, laughter and tasty food. It has also been a long-standing tradition to hand over recognition awards and training certificates to our staff on this day. Jane Mafafo and Dorah Masekwameng did a wonderful job in organising the day. A big thank you to them and everyone involved for making this event so special.
The long-waited release of our first female cheetah took place this month.
The two female cheetah (sisters) were born in captivity at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, De Wildt.
Due to the scarcity of genetically unrelated cheetah, there are numerous reserves on waiting lists for females. With the help of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Lapalala eventually received the two females in July 2019. They were initially housed in our boma facility, giving them a chance to acclimatise to their new environment. We postponed their release until the start of the impala lambing season, as impala lambs are ideal prey for young cheetah. Both females are collared and our regular monitoring has revealed that they are successfully hunting prey. In the meantime, another two wild-born, female cheetah have arrived at Lapalala and are due to be released within the next few weeks.