Animals held in captivity on the farm have all been “problem animals” that walked into the cattle farming areas to kill livestock. Unfortunately, farmers in Botswana are allowed to shoot these predators since cattle farming are the second biggest income of Botswana. In order to save these predators from a certain death, they have been captured and are now taken care of in large enclosures andused for education and research. As part of Modisa Wildlife Project, we are in the process of creating a program to secure the gene pool of all cats. Captive held wildlife can contribute greatly to this mission, since many populations in the wild are isolated from others. We are now looking at a situation where the gene pool in these smaller groups is weakening. The genes of captive held wildlife can easily be monitored, and if needed, new genes can be brought to problem areas in the wild through the reintroduction of the healthiest captive animals to these areas. Not all of our animals will get the chance to roam wild again, which is why we work to give them the best possible living conditions for their retirement. We are also fundraising to secure the outside fence of the 10,000 ha farm to keep lions in the farm perimeter so the young and capable animals can be reintroduced into the wild on the Grassland farm.
Help us to clean the cages of the predators, and at the same time get close up to them and watch their behavior. It is always an exciting thing to do and a good opportunity to get some great photographs of the lions.
Inside the cage old bones need to be picked up, some parts need to be raked, and one big task at the same time is always to watch the lions closely to make sure they are in healthy condition.
Game count, grass surveys, vegetation etc.
When we get ready to conduct game counts and surveys, the first thing you will learn is why we are doing game counts. We will answer questions such as: Why do we need to know how many animals there are on the farm? What do we do if there are too many or not enough? Why do we need to do grass surveys?
Once you have a basic knowledge on the topic, we start by packing up the car to do a practical game count. On the drive, everyone keeps an eye out for animals in the area, equipped only with binoculars. You will count every individual in herds and individual species from giraffes to springbok. You will learn to differentiate between males and females, how to judge their condition and how to estimate their age.
On our grass surveys you will learn how to measure the grass cover on the farm, how to tell whether grass is palatable and how to use this to determine the number of animals that can live in the area.
Both the game counts and the grass surveys are on-going projects, as it will take many years to get to an accurate figure. With your stay at the Modisa Wildlife project, you will contribute towards a long- term study and leave a lasting, positive impact on the area.
The first thing you will learn is why we are doing vegetation ids and the importance of it. We will answer questions such as: Why do we need to know what kind of trees and bushes there are on the property? What do we do if the vegetation is changing? And what impact would this have?
As the importance of Grass surveys to determine the number of animals that can live in the area vegetation id would give you a basic understanding of the vegetation in the Kalahari, and even better understanding of the importance of everything around you. You will learn how to identify the most common and most interesting trees in the area and what they are good for and can be use as.
Around the camp there is always a few things to do. It can be anything from just cleaning the table, doing dishes or sometimes having to fix a water leak or build a new kitchen. Everybody is expected to help keeping the camp as well as keeping your own tents clean.
It is necessary to maintain fences around the park as well as the fences around the predator camps. Regular checkups are important and the more eyes are there, the more we can see. Not only will you help to look for broken parts on the fences and to fix them, but also to look out for tracks of predators that move into the park or out. Hyenas, Leopards, Cheetahs, Wild Dogs and Lions come through on a regular basis. They are coming from the nearby Central Kalahari Game Reserve and are on the move in the hope to find a new home somewhere.