For some months now I have had a memory card from one of my cameras sitting on my desk. It is effectively full and contains 3984 images of mammals recorded at a salt lick in the Tswalu Kalahari reserve in the Northern Cape province
of South Africa. These 3984 images were recorded over just a 48hour period. I've been reluctant to write a new post about these images because,  well, I just couldn't think of a good story to go with the images. However I now need to use
the card and am reluctant to add another 4GB of images to the hard drive on my ageing laptop. So its a case of use-them-or-lose-them - and I've decided to use them.

Salt licks (possibly better described as mineral licks) are commonly used in wildlife reserves in Southern Africa. They're particularly used in the dry winter months when the quality of the grass is often poor. I don't know to what extent the mammals really need the additional minerals or whether they just like them. But that is immaterial because mammals arrive at the lick in droves, especially if there is also water in  the vicinity. So its an interesting site for a camera-trap.

These mineral supplements usually begin as a sold rectangular block. But it doesn't take long before they get licked down
into an amorphous blob, like the one at Tswalu, shown below:
So what's the story here?

 Well, for many wildlife professionals working in reserves like Tswalu these scenes are a daily occurence. But for the rest of us these camera-trap images represent an extraordinary view into the daily life of mammals in Africa. 3984 images in two days! Its a story that I hope our grand-children will still get to see.



Elmien de Kock
04/14/2013 11:48am

I enjoyed the photo's of the salt-lick, they are just so different to the normal photo's. Really special. But the ellie incident is fantastic. My favourite photo's are the ones of the Springhaas, Secretary bird and baboon. Well done on the website. Jez, I hope the De Kock's can do one of these safaris with you in the not too distant future!


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