New Ongava Research Centre...

Our new research facility will be opening in April 2019, we’ll update the website soon with more information.

We have left our previous blog online below if you’d like to have a look at some of the amazing camera trap images from the past 3 years.

Ongava Research Centre Blog...

Camera Trap Image of the Week - 28
- (Added 9. Apr. 2013 - 10:00)

There are some rather interesting animals to be found in some of our waterholes. Including great white sharks, it seems J.

Camera Trap Image of the Week - 27
- (Added 2. Apr. 2013 - 10:00)

Steenbok Raphicerus campestris are one antelope species that can survive in arid and semi-arid environments as they are able to derive water from foliage they browse. Indeed, some texts suggest that steenbok will ‘never’ be seen drinking. As ever, making sweeping statements in biology is a dangerous pastime! This steenbok drinks regularly at the waterhole shown, and we have trap images of several individuals drinking at waterholes across the reserve. Our view is that these animals (and other species such as oryx and even giraffe) are capable deriving enough water from browse and graze, but if there is water available why not take the easy way?

Camera Trap Image of the Week - 26
- (Added 26. Mar. 2013 - 11:00)

Oryx (or gemsbok, as they are sometimes called) are equipped with a significant set of horns, and they are quite prepared to use them to defend themselves! Here we see two male Oryx squaring up – this will almost certainly have been a test of strength, rather than a serious fight. Perhaps the younger male on the right wanted to test his strength against an older individual? These contests are typical across many species of horned antelope, and intensify at breeding time when senior males that hold harems of females are challenged for breeding rights by other males. An interesting fact about Oryx horns is that the female often has longer (but thinner) horns than the male – an unusual circumstance in antelope species, where females often do not even have horns.

Camera Trap Image of the Week - 25
- (Added 19. Mar. 2013 - 11:00)

It is a common misconception that spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta are primarily scavengers – in reality they most often kill their own prey, perhaps up to 80% of their food coming from their own kills. On Ongava, unlike the large savannah reserves such as the Serengeti, spotted hyaenas typically forage alone or in small groups, hence their diet is biased to smaller prey species. GPS collar data also tells us that our ‘spotties’ avoid the plains areas of the reserve, almost certainly due to high lion densities. Research elsewhere suggests that spotties need to outnumber lions by at least 3:1 before they can compete at kills. Here we very rarely see large groups of spotties, hence it appears they avoid rather then compete with our lions. The image shows a small group of spotties chasing a plains zebra – probably optimistic!

Camera Trap Image of the Week - 24
- (Added 12. Mar. 2013 - 11:00)

Avian scavengers play an important role in processing carcasses in ecosystems. While vultures predominate on Ongava (we have three main species: White-backed Gyps africanus, Lappet-faced Aegypius tracheliotis, White-headed Aegypius occipitalis), we sometimes see pairs of Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus accompanying the vultures at carrion. Marabous mostly scavenge, but can also catch small prey such as frogs, insects and rodents. Here we see a Marabou joining a mixed group of vultures to drink.

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discovery is in our nature

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