News from the Environment
After a fairly disappointing short rains in terms of rainfall, January has been very hot and the land dry.
Everyday that has passed the land and grasses have been becoming progressively more golden in colour. Game viewing of course has remained excellent.
However just as we at Manze were starting to comment and discuss the potential effects of this unseasonal dryness on animal movements, Mother Nature sent us a game changer.
One night the heavens opened. When we emerged from our tents in the morning we found our rain gauge overflowing at 65mm of rain. This event and similarly high rainfall in other areas of the Rufiji catchment area have pushed the lake and channel water levels up extremely high for the season. Higher in fact than we have seen at this point in the season for years.
So the Selous is green again, baby animals are bouncing around with renewed vigor.
All is well again in the Selous.
News from Sightings
Following the mid-month rains most of the large herds of zebra and wildebeest have moved out towards the north, away from the lakes and river, which is their dry season stomping ground because of their need to be near this permanent water source. However now there is standing water available elsewhere, where the grasses are nutrient rich and less grazed. There are still plenty around our area for us to see however, and of course our huge numbers of giraffe and impala are ever present. Big groups of Eland have been spotted.
Lion sightings abound as always and a coalition of six males have been wreaking havoc to our buffalo population; they brought down three in the space of week!
A good few sightings of the elusive leopard have been a highlight of some guests’ stay and we continue to see multiple sightings of various packs of wild dogs.
There is never a bad month to be in Selous and sightings overall have been great this January.
Our Wild Friends – Elephants
Manze’s most famous friends are our elephants. Whether it be passing by at breakfast time or hanging around all day shaking our doum palms for fruit, these moments with such impressive creatures are really rather special. Some guests this month even got to sit next to our ‘star of the show’ Lyagus as he lay down and slept at the lounge area.
Elephants have been labeled many things by many people. Elephants are: keystone species, ecological engineers, symbols of conservation. They are thought of as being very intelligent, possessing a wonderful memory and having an emotional intelligence. And yet elephants are in grave danger. It’s thought that some 30 elephants are poached everyday for their tusks. In October an aerial census of elephants in Selous-Mikumi was coordinated by Frankfurt Zoological Society with the partnership of other key stakeholders. Last month they released the official numbers. Disheartening, though not surprising, as of October Selous is home to only 13,084 elephants. This is down from 39,000 in 2009, and 50 – 55,000 in 2007. The numbers speak for themselves. One of Africa’s most important elephant populations is being decimated. And it’s not just in Selous; it’s happening all over Africa.