• Florian Weise

Mapping roads can be fun too!

A seasoned scientist once told me: 'Everything starts with a good map'. And that’s entirely true. Wildlife researchers struggle to interpret information without a firm spatial context, such as roads, waterholes and boundaries for instance. As the new Ongava research campus comes to life, a lot of things need taking care of. Work days are long and so we chose a Sunday morning to explore our new home, the Ongava Game Reserve in northern Namibia. Get out and get a better feel for the lay of the land. We used this opportunity to GPS-track some of the bush roads we hadn’t traveled before. Soon after discussing a rather non-descript junction in the heart of the reserve, we noticed the rancid smell. Right next to the road were five lions feeding on a giraffe! We stopped (of course) to take ID pictures of the cats, and we recorded the relevant research notes. Despite their numbers, the lions (4 males and 1 female) seemed too young to have killed the giraffe themselves, a fully-grown adult male after all, towering some 4.5 meters above the lions. Was the giraffe sick? Or injured? Did he die of old age? We simply don’t know. One of our recent NEWS posts talks about the calming effects of spending a little time in nature every day. This one surely did the trick for us!