October 1, 2019
Twelve Hours in the Bush
- as seen by -Sarah Edmunds jmaher
Inside a five-square-foot observation blind situated near a water hole in the Namibian bush, I sat for 12 hours.
It was the annual water hole game count for the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Once per year, CCF’s researchers and volunteers station themselves among a dozen or so of these structures at different water sources to record all the animals that stop by for a drink. The goal is to measure the area’s long-term trends in wildlife population demographics, group sizes, and health.
From our “cozy” front-row seats, a fellow volunteer and I hardly whispered, moved, or breathed from 6 am to 6 pm as we observed the comings and goings of animals — 140 animals, to be exact. Among them were oryx, eland, black-backed jackals, baboons, giraffes, banded and slender mongooses, warthogs, and these plains zebras (Equus quagga).
Some were apprehensive of us, inching towards the water for more than an hour before ultimately walking away without a drink. This group of zebras, however, decided we weren’t a threat. They piled into the relatively tiny pool to drink and splash and play for 16 of the day’s most memorable minutes.
NOTE: Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild.