CONGRATULATIONS! To both ‘Guide’ Ella and ‘Guide’ Nikki in passing their Practical FAGASA Guiding exams, they’re now fully fledged! Your efforts were rewarded, we’re proud of you both! Sadly Ella is moving on at the end of the month... we'll miss her terribly but wish her every success in the future and hope that she'll visit whenever possible.
WE HAVE LION CUBS! NOT SURE HOW MANY YET AS THEY'RE STILL HIDDEN!
CHRIS’ STORY: COPROPHAGIA!
Our new Rhino calf was observed feeding on his Mother’s dung, much to the disgust of my guests! There is a simple explanation behind this, it’s called Coprophagia! Coprophagia in Latin it means ‘faecal feeder’. This is practiced by different animals for different reasons, but our focus here is on why the baby Rhino was eating his Mother’s dung. Rhinos are hind gut fermenters and need special bacteria to break down the plant matter they feed on. Rhino calves are however not born with these specialized bacteria and need to eat their Mother’s dung before they start feeding on plant matter, in order for their digestive systems to operate properly. Rhino babies will start eating this dung from a few months old until they are about 7 months. So next time you see an animal feeding on dung, there‘s a very good reason behind it!
Baby Rhino feeding on his mothers dung
NIKKI’S NEWS: SCIENTISTS AT SIBUYA’S RIVER CAMP
Dr Alan Whitfield, an Honorary Prof at Rhodes University and an Internationally rated scientist and the recipient of the JD Gilchrist Memorial Medal for contributions to Marine Science in South Africa and his willing team were guests at SIBUYA recently.
He is an expert on Estuaries and came to record data on the Kariega Estuary. The major focus of the study is the endangered and rare ESTUARINE PIPEFISH (Syngnathus watermeyeri) apparently the 8TH MOST ENDANGERED FISH WORLD-WIDE and definitely on ‘The Red List.’ This rare little creature is related to the seahorse and was once thought to be extinct but was found in our Kariega Estuary!
Dr Whitfield and his team of students are studying the population, numbers and condition of the Estuary in the hope of finding a stable community. Eelgrass, which is their habitat, was virtually destroyed by the floods of 2012, so it appears that the population has been severely compromised. Sadly, the study late last year, revealed not a single one! Hopefully with changing conditions and the recovery of the eelgrass, the ESTUARINE PIPEFISH will return.
Good news was that there has been a marked increase in the LONGSNOUT PIPEFISH – a relative, also found in the Kariega Estuary. The SIBUYA staff who were privileged to assist with the research, have volunteered to collect and record samples throughout the year, which will be presented to Dr Whitfield hopefully on his return.
Longsnout Pipefish caught by Dr Whitfield
Dr Whitfield collecting samples
HERPATOLOGISTS IN RIVER CAMP
A HERPATOLOGIST is a zoologist who studies reptiles: snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles and amphibians: frogs, toads, salamanders and the like. Guide Werner shares this passion, so when a group of eager Herpatologists came to stay at SIBUYA recently to update their records, Werner was in his element! Some of our guests have witnessed his skill when handling snakes - a fascinating but potentially deadly hobby - certainly not for the faint-hearted! The group were extremely excited to record several species not previously recorded in the area.
Werner's catch - A big Cob
Werner's passion - A Puffadder!
We have had various International students contributing by working at SIBUYA over the last months and would like to thank them for their efforts in making things run smoothly at both RIVER and FOREST CAMPS… Tiphaine from Paris, Niek from Holland, Johanna and Geraldine from Germany… we appreciate your input and hope your experience with us has been rewarding.
Sean & James
James from Ireland and Sean from South Africa are two FAGASA Students currently doing their 6mths Practical Guiding with us. They can hardly believe the adventures and diversity of their stay at SIBUYA… it’s tough out there guys, but you’re doing a great job and your efforts are truly appreciated! We hope you’ve gathered some memories to last you a life-time and that passion has been ignited!
A huge “THANK YOU!” to every one of our magnificent staff for endless hours of dedicated hard work towards ensuring our guests have a fabulous stay, with exciting adventures and memories to treasure! It’s been an exceptionally busy time and the extreme heat has made it even more challenging than usual!
Superb ratings on Surveys and Awards of Excellence are an indicator that we’re on the right path. Well done guys! We’re currently in the National Finals of yet another award… a great start to 2014… will keep you posted!
To our wonderful guests, we wish you HAPPY DAYS! and look forward to welcoming you back…
Carol and the SIBUYA TEAM
As always thanks again to Chris, Emily and Justin for the use of their wonderful pictures
PLEASE NOTE! YES! YOU CAN HELP!
Your donations are invaluable and are greatly appreciated in helping us to protect our precious rhino.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE SO GENEROUSLY DONATED TO OUR RHINO FOUNDATION
But our special thanks must go to BuckeyeCam of Athens, Ohio USA for their incredible donation of 10 of their state of the art bush cameras that, along with the 10 we already had, form the backbone of our security surveillance system. These super sophisticated motion detection cameras are bullet proof and are now proven "elephant-proof" after one of our inquisitive bulls decided to investigate this new "toy" in his domain! To all at BuckeyeCam we thank you (on behalf of our rhino) from the bottom of our hearts.