Ongava Research Centre Blog...

2015 - Week 44
- (Added 1. Nov. 2015 - 11:00)

Black rhinos can make some pretty loud noises – that huge chest allows them to generate sounds across a large range of frequencies, especially infrasound (frequencies below 20Hz). We know that rhinos can produce sounds as low as 5Hz, which is well below the threshold that humans can hear. However it is not known whether they (like elephants) use infrasound for communication. In the image below you can also see excellent evidence of the prehensile upper lip of the black rhino. Very useful when it comes to stripping leaves off thorn bushes!

2015 - Week 43
- (Added 25. Oct. 2015 - 11:00)

Where have all the vultures gone? A few years ago we had regular visits by vultures to some of our remote waterholes. These were mostly the white-backed and lappet-faced species. Sometimes we were lucky enough to be able to read the patagial tags of marked individuals – for example, vulture E134, tagged on neighbouring Etosha National Park (ENP), shown below. However more recently there have been very few vultures on Ongava. Ecologists in ENP also report a reduction in numbers, but suggest this is simply a short-term spatial shift – GPS tracking shows that vultures travel over huge distances, and it is likely that the populations have moved elsewhere. That should not however be allowed to mask what remains a huge issue for vultures – indiscriminate poisoning by farmers.

2015 - Week 42
- (Added 18. Oct. 2015 - 11:00)

Now here is a sight for sore eyes. This is (or I should say ‘was’) Ongava! I took this shot several years ago in early March. We had received good rains, our main dam was full to the brim, and the grass had grown across the reserve. Sadly the past few years have been very hard, with almost no rain recorded. Needless to say, that dam has been empty for many months. Fingers crossed for good rains this year, although with a strong El Nino in place, the forecasts are not encouraging…

2015 - Week 41
- (Added 11. Oct. 2015 - 11:00)

A change this week – a butterfly. Here we see a beautiful under-wing view of a female Charaxes pollux or black-bordered charaxes. We often see these butterflies on the ground drinking – this one is sucking water from the soil in a damp area.

2015 - Week 40
- (Added 4. Oct. 2015 - 11:00)

Reports of an African Fish Eagle on Ongava last week. Not too many fish in any of our waters, so presumably the eagle was stopping for a drink. Apparently there are only about 600 fish eagles in Namibia, so a rare sight in an area that does not have permanent water. Here is a shot we took of one a few years ago, also a brief visit.

PS I seem to be repeating myself – last week’s Dik-Dik picture appeared in the blog last year. And they seem to have grown – last year I said a maximum of 6kg, this year I said 7kg. It seems that depends on your reference materials… Either way, rather small!

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discovery is in our nature

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