It is the reporter's nightmare. Great story to tell, no way of getting it back to the office. Christelle Randall now knows all about the problem. But fired by some marvellous footage on Animal Planet on TV, her old man has cobbled together some jottings from a quick e-mail and Facebook message.......
Keeping up the blog posts is tricky, as I have to share access with the whole of the group for the computer. When we go to town on our day off once every two weeks, we have to use the computer in a tiny shop and share it with everyone else.
Things at Venetia are still good....it's pretty hard core and I struggled a bit to be honest at first with the more scientifc elements of the work.
But I think I have proved myself now and am having an amazing time, though it's much harder than I thought it would be.
We have one day off a week - Friday - and every other day is spent on game drives from 6am until 6pm....we focus on lions and watch two prides, Tsotsi's pride and Thicka's pride.
The other day we found Thicka's pride on a gemsbok kill. We saw the little cubs inside the carcass.
It's lovely seeing the pride together as you can see how they communicate - the mum calls to them when she doesn't like them coming close to the truck and they are very affectionate. Thicka has a sister called Pikannin who is less relaxed; she's nervous around the truck, always runs off and sometimes runs at the vehicle in an aggressive way.
We currently have a snout-nosed cobra living on the game reserve. Someone found him coiled around a tree the other day and he lives behind where we do our washing! He is highly dangerous; in the book it says "serous large quantities of anti-venom required if bitten". It means we are really careful but I need to do washing every couple of days as everything gets so dirty.
We also have mice in the room - they come in at night and nibble on any food so we have to be careful not to leave it out.
Yesterday I also saw wild dogs which are very rare, and was therefore a treat for me, and they have seven pups - so cute but we are worried about the pups as lions kill them.
In a few days, those of us staying for the full 10 weeks move on to another reserve. And by then, maybe I'll have had a chance to doctor and send some of my own photographs*....
* and with thanks to "FlightLine" at Picasa Web Albums for the picture used here. Does anyone know if it is possible to contact those who upload their photos to that site?