Saturday, 29 December 2007

Batteries, buffering and rain.

The whole team at WildEarth hope that everybody has had a very merry Xmas and that you all have an exceptional new year. WE wish you everything you wish yourselves.
Right now WE have two tech problems that are causing your viewing to be less than ideal. One we understand and one we don't. The buffering we don't yet have a handle on. It got better and now its become a problem again for some of our viewers, particularly those in North America. The problem is somewhere between our servers and you. It may happen that this problem can only be put to rest finally in the new year.
The other problem, the batteries, can only be solved in the new year. You see, the video/audio transmission equipment on the game drive vehicle is very power hungry and so WE use 8 x 25 kilogram batteries mounted behind the ranger's seat. Because of constant heavy charging and discharging they have lost most of their capacity. The only thing that WE can do is to replace the whole set of batteries and that can only happen in the new year when our suppliers reopen their businesses.
All of us at WildEarth understand how frustrating it is ... I am sure you can understand that all WE want to do is get out there and find you the animals ... its in our nature.
On a different note, you may have noticed the dramatic filling up of the Vuyatela (or Gowrie) waterhole. Well Djuma has had an excellent rainy season so far. There are streams everywhere and water just pouring out of the ground in some places. In fact it all looks better than it has in years. 2008 is going to be a great year for our beloved Djuma and the animals and people that live here.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

WE are aware that there are many people around the world that are experiencing severe buffering of the LIVE video stream. The stream is definitely making it to the server in Pretoria with no problems, but somewhere between the video server and you there is a problem. Telkom Media, WildEarth's Internet client, is trying to figure out what the problem is.
In the meantime Djuma has experienced torrential rain, which has all but filled up Gowrie dam ... with more to come.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

WE party!!

It is festive everywhere ... even the bush. In spite of the rain WE are going to have our end of year party tonight. Everybody has worked very hard this year and a little party is in order. After all next year is going to be the year of big work.
WE are expecting big rain over the next while, which is great for the bush, dams and animals, but it does mean that we may miss the odd drive. WE will always try to let you know if we have to miss a drive.
Just for fun here are some pics of some of the crew in camp at the moment.
Liesbeth looks after the whole WE crew, she also makes sure that our camp is in tip top shape. WE couldn't do it without you Liesbeth ... really for sure.

I guess you all know who this is ... Pieter is going on leave from the 24Th December and will be heading for Cape Town for some fun in the sun.

Our newest team member Alex ... always looking for reptiles.

James Taylor has moved into camp and will be building our whole new camp in Dixie just outside Gowrie Gate. WE need to expand to a crew of 20 and just can't accommodate everybody at Vuyatela so we need James to sort us out.

Hayley found this little baby bat on her way to the Final Control ... isn't it cute?

Jan the man preparing some dinner in our tiny kitchen ... won't be too long before WE are much better kitted out.

Rex and Simphiwe are on leave, but they'll be with us in spirit tonight at the party.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Nightmare on the 8th

The sun has set on yet another day here in the Sabi Sands. Nightfall in the bush awakes a predator. An illusive leopard hunts with caution, planning every step as he silently moves through the darkness towards his prey… but this story is not about a stalking leopard. It is a story of one of our well-known lions, the dominant male of the Kahuma Pride, Blondie, who has tragically fallen to the brutal, destructive and terrifying coalition of five male lions, known as the “Mapogo Males”.

Last night, as darkness settled over the bush, the horrifying sound of fighting lions was heard to the south of Djuma somewhere across one of our borders. The Rangers knew immediately that the Mapogo Males were a part of it because they had been spotted close to Cheetah Cut-line a couple of days ago. True to their name, which means, “bandits”, they were once again on the path of destruction.

During the day, the two Kahuma males were seen with one of the Sticks females. Blondie was mating with her when the Mapogo Males came across them. Sadly, the instinct to eliminate all competition prevailed and Blondie stood little chance against the five “bandits”. The younger male, Dozie, joined the struggle for a while but fled together with the female towards Buffelshoek, when he realized his big brother had fallen. Our hearts grew heavy as we heard the reports coming in over the radio. Blondie was paralyzed. His only chance of survival would have been retreat. His fate was now sealed.

The Sticks female escaped unharmed and is now, surprisingly, with the Mapogo Males, who will mate with her to ensure the survival of their genes. The only remaining Kahuma male, Dozie, was seen in Buffelshoek this morning with one of the Kahuma females. Dozie must now rise and take his place as the new dominant male of the Kahuma Pride. Some of the females have cubs and the Mapogo Males will want to kill them too, so Dozie’s responsibilities are great. He is now the only one that can ensure the survival of the Kahuma Pride.

As far as we know the Kahuma Pride now consists of one male, Dozie, nine females and thirteen cubs. All of us here at Wild Earth are hoping that Dozie will succeed in his task of protecting the Kahuma Pride and that, in time the cubs will grow up to be a part of this very special group that we have come to know and love.

The sun has set on yet another magnificent male lion’s life here in the Sabi Sands but I am sure, that whenever we see a buried lion track on the roads he used to walk on, we will think of him and remember him dearly.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Drive time change.

Well we are almost at the middle of summer and its time to adjust our drive times again. So from tomorrow WE are going to start our afternoon drive half an hour later at 17h00 CAT (Central African Time). The morning drive will still start at 05h30 (CAT) in the morning.
Although we have upgraded our battery charging system and the power wiring on the 'Tank', WE still have power problems. As a result the drives have been cut slightly short over the past few days. Really for sure WE are working on the problem.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Tech news @ WildEarth

At the moment our Internet connection is down. WE have been informed by Telkom that it will be down until tomorrow. As a result there was no game drive this morning and there won't be one this afternoon. However, the minute our connection has been reestablished WE will be back.
In the meantime we have installed a new battery charging system and completed an upgrade on the batteries themselves. Not only will this result in a much more reliable power system, but the new battery chargers require no management and this is a real relief to the WE crew. Over the past two months the crew have had to go to sleep later and wake up earlier in order to manage the battery charging, which has not been very popular. That is all behind us now. A very very big thank you to Pieter, Jan and Rex for always doing what it takes ... its in your natures.