31 Oct Aerial game gensus
The annual aerial game census was done in the middle of September during hot and windy conditions. Normally the census was done wrapped up in jackets, gloves etc, but this was the first year that we wore shorts and short sleeved shirts. Luckily the visibility was excellent, although flying conditions were not ideal. The numbers for most species are down from last year, which was to be expected to give our high predator population, very dry conditions, and bad breeding the previous two seasons.
It was noticeable that the major prey species decreased sharply. This was also the first year that a large decrease in Impala numbers was seen. However, we also noticed that there was less of some of the smaller antelope species like mountain reedbuck, nyala, and bushbuck. The wild dogs are probably the big culprits as they hunt extensively in the valleys. But, as usual, he elephant numbers is up by the normal margin of 8%!
It should be kept in mind that the census figures are not intended to give a 100% accurate figure for all species and that individuals of some species will be missed, especially the small, shy animals like bushbuck etc. This applies especially to the smaller animals that tend to be alone or in small groups. Large animals or animals in average to large herds will be counted relatively accurately. The principle behind an aerial census is to provide trends of what is happening in the different populations and not exact figures. The census figures are available to landowners in the member’s section.