• Stéphanie Périquet

Spending some time at the waterholes – Annual 72h count


In fenced game reserves, it is very important to have a clear idea of how many animals you have in order to manage them appropriately. Every year on Ongava, we run continuous 72h counts at every waterhole in the reserve to asses population sizes. These counts are conducted during the height of the dry season (when water is only available at pumped waterholes) when we assume than every water-dependant animal would come to drink at least once during the course of the 3 days. These counts involve sitting at the waterhole, recording species, group size and composition and time of the day. Some waterholes are quiet, others are busy… But wherever you sit, there are always highlights!\nI was monitoring Andersson's waterhole and my highlight was when 2 lionesses killed a duiker nearby and came to drink after finishing their meal. One of them decided that a few meters from the underground hide where I was sitting, was an ideal place to lie down and clean herself! I will remember the sound made by her rough tongue licking the blood from her coat for a long time…