The last 5 weeks have been very busy with the film crew etc but though some might be interested…
This study sets out to determine whether translocated black mambas (captured in sugar cane fields and released in protected areas) differ in their movement patterns compared with resident individuals. Black mamba movement is being studied by means of radio-telemetry. Each snake has a transmitter surgically implanted into the body cavity. Each snake is then tracked using a receiver and antenna.
A large number of people are directly involved in this project. Thea Litschka-Koen and Clifton Koen conceived the idea of this project, caught the mambas and organised the logistics. Tigress Productions sponsored six transmitters and funded much of the work. Prof. Mike Perrin sponsored ten transmitters built by Clifford Dearden. Profs. Graham Alexander and Dr. Silke Pfitzer operated on the snakes. The tracking is being coordinated by All Out Africa. Profs. Graham Alexander and Ara Monadjem are the scientific advisors of this project and are responsible for analysing the data and writing up the results.
From Profs. Ara:
Just to let you know that I've spent the past 3 days down at Nisela tracking mambas (while my assistants took a break). What amazing animals and what an amazing project. I located all 10 snakes daily (twice daily Fri and Sat) and got visuals on 8 of the snakes. The other 2 didn't leave their "burrows" (one is in the trunk of a tree). Mduduzi and Elaine got visuals on those 2 earlier in the week. All 8 snakes look healthy and alert. 4 snakes are very much on the move (snakes: 2, 7, 10 and 11). In fact, snake 7 has already left Nisela to the north, although I couldn't get out to track it today (not easy to cross that electric fence...). Hopefully Mduduzi will find it tomorrow. None of the 8 snakes had bulges, suggesting that they haven't eaten yet.
I had never met Profs. Graham Alexander before but what a fantastic person! Sean Thomas was also very much involved with the telemetry and wrangling for the film crew - another super guy. Learnt a lot from them both.
The Tigress crew was absolutely wonderful! Very professional and made us feel at (reasonable) ease in front of the cameras.
Just a few pics: