Ongava Research Centre Blog...


2015 - Week 9
- (Added 1. Mar. 2015 - 11:00)

Scavengers of all shapes and sizes play important roles in ecosystems by further processing dead animals and plants so that they may ultimately be recycled. We often talk of primary scavengers being large animals such as hyaenas and vultures, but scavenging insects probably make a bigger impact on ecosystem health. Here we a brown hyaena ‘recycling’ what appears to be the distal part of the front leg of a red hartebeest.



2015 - Week 8
- (Added 22. Feb. 2015 - 11:00)

We routinely monitor our boundaries using camera traps, especially our common boundary with Etosha National Park. This camera trap is looking from our electric fence towards the Etosha fence, across ‘no-man’s-land’. Here we see a female caracal moving one of her kittens – it may be that her den was disturbed, or she felt under threat from another predator. She is about to use a hole made by a warthog to enter Etosha, presumably looking for a safer place for her kitten. Let’s hope she finds one!



2015 - Week 7
- (Added 15. Feb. 2015 - 11:00)

A close up camera trap shot of the hide of a giraffe. We can tell this is an adult breeding male, since they are the only individuals that have a darker coat – as opposed to ‘giraffe yellow’. This colour often deepens with age. Males that do not attain breeding status keep their yellow color, so presumably this darkening of colour is testosterone-related. How does the giraffe ‘know’ how create the colour pattern we see on their coats? The question is relevant for any animal that has a variable pattern of colours – how does any one patch express a particular pigmentation (spots on leopards, stripes on zebra, etc.)? Recent research suggests this is about the differential expression of specific genes in the skin cells. The underlying pattern is thought to be laid down as the skin develops, then local differences in pigmentation are coded by a gene that influences how colours are presented.



2015 - Week 6
- (Added 8. Feb. 2015 - 11:00)

Our general manager captured by camera trap in pensive mode at one of our remote waterholes… Reminiscent of the film ‘Field of Dreams’ – If I build it they will come



2015 - Week 5
- (Added 1. Feb. 2015 - 11:00)

Open wide! No purple fruit on Ongava, so we must assume this young male’s tongue actually is purple… Probably just as well our camera traps are in those metal enclosures. Not that they would withstand a determined elephant… 




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discovery is in our nature

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