Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Goodbye Alex.

Well Alex's last day is finally here and what a sad day it is. I decided that rather than do a normal video highlights for the week I would concentrate on some of the great farewell tributes that you guys have made for Alex. Alex has become a solid member of the WE team but not just because of his inspirational camera work but also because of his character. He appears to be a shy person on the surface but I have never seen so many funny and crazy antics come from one person. The first and maybe most memorable was a long time ago when he and Rex imitated a number of wild animals sounds in infra red on the vehicle at night. His impression of a chimpanzee followed by Rex's wooping of a hyena went down in the memory banks of all the viewers and certainly something that I will never forget. It features in the videos below if by any chance you missed it. The next thing was his Shangaan dancing lesson. This consisted of Rex and Alex standing opposite from each other, on the Tree House dam wall frantically kicking their legs in the air until Rex actually fell on his back and rolled out of shot. It bought tears to my eyes and a fantastic array of videos made by our creative viewers. The third and probably most ridiculous sighting was of Alex letting his hair down (literally) in the FCC. On this day he decided to let his hair free from the restricting braids and shake it around in front of the camera much to the amusement of Jan who was looking on.
Alex you have been an inspiration to WildEarth and someone that Graham and I and the WE team will sorely miss. You have given an audience from around the world a fantastic window into the African bush and for that WE are truly grateful. As Graham said the door will always be open for you here at WildEarth but in the meantime good luck with your future endeavours.
Alex will be doing his last drive for WildEarth this afternoon at 16.00 CAT. Please join us in watching him and celebrating a truly wonderful person.
As I am sure that you have noticed WE have a new inverter and the batteries appear to be performing better due to careful management by the world's best LIVE wildlife team ... it's in their nature.
Emily Wallington

Goodbye Alex by Pegscan

WildEarth.TV So Long Alex by Valorie

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Goodbye and Good Luck by Sharon

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Alex's Swan Song by Emjay

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Sunday, 27 July 2008

First a leopard then an inverter!!

WE may think a leopard is illusive. Or believe we can comprehend the nature of this enigmatic cat. Finding his tracks on the dusty footprints of Land Cruisers and Land Rovers, I know the tracks are fresh, WE can feel he was here.

Suddenly, maybe just as WE think we can see him, he can disappear like the morning mist, or the last, lingering breath of a lion's roar, the eagle as he vanishes into the blazing sun.

I'm trying to paint you the dappled picture, of what can be there, even when we don't see him.

Like this morning. We saw his tracks, knew he was around, somewhere in the mystery of game drive possibilities...but stopping, looking at the beautiful nyalas, poised and serene. Relaxed.

Movement ... like a shadow on the primal edge of awareness. Stalking the periphery of vision ... a shape ... all senses clear and aLIVE.

That was the moment, surrouding this morning's surprise. A moment of sight, shared and felt by everyone there ... by you ... by us ... together ... WE ... it's in our nature.

Pieter Pretorius





(News: What an awesome sighting it was. You never know what's going to literally jump out from one moment to the next. Well broadcasting LIVE from the African wilderness, day in and day out, is a bit like that as well. Today was no exception. Just after that amazing sighting the inverter 'blew' on the Jiga. For those of you that have been on this journey with us for a while will know that this can happen. There are many possible reasons for it and WE are busy trying to figure out what happened. But the implications are that WE will have to cancel this afternoons drive as well as both drives tomorrow while WE source a new inverter and get it transported to Djuma and installed. As always, WE are sorry about this, but as a team we promise that WE will work fast and sure to bring you back to us. In the meantime there will still be a fire side chat this evening at 19h00 CAT (Central African Time) ... be there.)

Alex is leaving WE!!

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that our cameraman, the intrepid adventurer, Alex is leaving us. He has been manning the camera and bringing you Djuma LIVE for 8 months with out complaining or missing a beat. To say that he has been a much loved member of our team is a huge understatement.

He has decided to continue his African adventure and gain more varied experience as a wildlife filmmaker. I have no doubt that Alex will make an important impression on our industry and world. I am also confident that WE have not seen the last of him. The door will always be open for you Alex, and the Jiga will always wait for you. May the wind stay at your back, may the animals always perform for you and I personally hope that the tech gremlins never find you. WE will remain in your nature and hope that you will come back home one day ... good luck.

Alex will be flying out on Thursday the 31st July, so his last drive will be on Wednesday afternoon. 

Graham 

Friday, 25 July 2008

Behind the scenes - 25th July 2008


The behind the scenes show is back. Exactly the same as before, only different!!
It's still going to come out on Fridays, but it's no longer going to be broadcast in the LIVE stream. You see after a lot of discussion WE decided that the Behind the Scenes show should stand alone as it was not really a natural part of the highlight mash-ups. Also, we want you to be able to watch the show in a number of different places on the web. So from today it will be available on our YouTube channel, FaceBook Group, Social network and here on the Blog. In time WE will have a channel on iTunes and you will be able to download it to your iPod or AppleTV as WE release it.
This show will be the first of several different shows that WildEarth will develop. But our approach is going to be a little different from the way shows are normally developed (bet you didn't expect that!)
Each show will be created by one WE crew member. Definitely with the help of the rest of us, but essentially by one of us. You see most of us are aspirant filmmakers and this is an opportunity to develop our skills and an individual style, even a unique audience. So each show will have a mini season of 6 episodes. Why? Well each of us works six weeks on and then two weeks off. Marco has been back 1 week and here you have the first of his six episodes.
Please watch and hopefully enjoy what he has so carefully put together for you. Also, WE love to hear your feedback ... and that includes criticism ... how else will WE learn. So be sure to let us have your thoughts. After all ... it's in your nature.

A big WE welcome to Texan.

Texan has actually been working for WE behind the scenes since the beginning of the year. He has been driving crew and equipment between Djuma and Nelspruit and Johannesburg. WE are excited to formally welcome Tex to the crew. He has been learning the ropes in Final Control and you can expect to see him making his first moves onto the vehicle as a trainee cameraman real soon. After that he will get in the drivers seat and see if he has what it takes to take the world on safari ... WE think he has.
Tex lives in Dixie, just like Rex. And like Rex, Simphiwe and Liesbeth, he is proudly part of the Shangaan tribe. He has extensive experience as a guide in the Sabi Sands and is a renowned tracker. Texan, welcome to the global WE family.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

WE may be small, but we are going places ...

Those of you that have been watching WildEarth on the Windows Media 9 (WM9) service at One Net Place in Los Angeles will have noticed an increased level of pixelation in the video. What has happened is that I have reduced the bit rate (the speed) of that stream from 300 kbps (kilobytes per second) to 150 kbps. The reason for this is that WE have increased the Flash stream to 500kbps at www.wildearth.tv, and there just isn't enough bandwidth at Djuma to be able to run a total of 800 kbps.

I appreciate that some of you prefer the WM9 stream for a variety of reasons, but I assure you that the Flash 500kbps stream is superior. In fact watching the game drive at full screen is now almost like 'proper' TV, which is why WE are doing this. Change is difficult and there are things that still need to be improved, but in the end this is going to result in a better experience for all.

WE have heard you and I have from today stopped 'distorting' the picture by squashing it. The presenters will have lost several pounds again!! I did this because for years I have wanted to broadcast in the 16:9 aspect ratio, but until WE upgrade the waterhole cameras to HD, which we will do, it's just not possible. Even though WE record and transmit 16:9 HD from the Jiga. What can I tell you I am impatient!

Also, we are aware that some of you in North America with slightly slower connections are having some difficulty getting the 500kbps Flash stream at www.wildearth.tv. This is a fixable problem and we are working on it. If you are having this difficulty you can help us by doing a trace route from your PC to the stream. Email me at webmaster@wildearth.tv and I will explain how to do it.

Finally, I just want to let you all know that WE are aware of your frustrations with the question asking service that WE offer. Firstly I want to assure you all that there is no favoritism at all, and I do understand why you are frustrated. Quite simply our current system will never work, but the concept is a great one. I am working on a system that will allow all of you to see the questions as they are asked and most importantly put a monitor on the vehicle next to the radios that will have your questions scrolling on it, so the presenters can read them directly, and have a 'conversation' with you. There are a myriad of technical challenges to this and it is going to take some time and money, but it is the only way to make this service work to its potential. In the meantime I would ask for your patience and support. WE will also try harder, so keep your questions coming to finalcontrol@wildearth.tv.

By the way you are the best audience in the world ... it's in your nature!!

Graham

Monday, 21 July 2008

WEekly video highlights

Firstly apologies for doing this today and not on Sunday. Unfortunately I was not able to get to a computer on Sunday. Anyway, you guys have once again excelled yourselves with your video making skills. I was astounded at how many have been made over the last week, I had hours of entertaining viewing so thanks. We have had some fantastic sightings, the bush is on fire at the moment (not literally). I want to start with the highlight of the week for me which was the huge buffalo herd. What a herd, It is the largest one I think I have ever seen.
Emily

Buff Herd at Sunset by Emjay


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This is absolutely stunning, there is no other way to describe it. The colours of the sunset with the dust in front are beautiful and the music fits wonderful with this perfect African scene. It really is what you think of when you think Africa. It was nice to see how blown away Rexon was at this and he has seen a lot of bush scenes in his time. It was estimated at 2500 buffalo which is amazing, I sure wish I had been there. Thanks to Emjay for catching this and putting such beautiful music to it.

Had a bad day Again by Shiloh


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This is a great idea for a video, I really enjoyed it. Its wonderful to see animals interacting, even if they are being cranky and moody. So often in the bush you see wonderful animals but they are just lying around. catching glimpses of behaviour like ion this video is great, it enables you to relate to them on a human level. I love the beginning when the buff are changing the lion and then it reverses and the lion are chasing the buff. Thanks shiloh, it was great editing, great music and some well chosen footage.

Its in their nature weekly by Ms Charlie and the students


It was great to see a video with lots of sightings from the week put together. I enjoyed it because we have had some fantastic sightings this week coupled with the fact that it was sprinkled with the crew shots and edited well to good music. thanks again Ms Charlie for a great highlight package.

Feathers by David Keen


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Thanks David for giving us birds. We do not see enough of them and there are so many beautiful and varied types. I love the fact that WE can see them up close. Normally when you are on the back of the game drive vehicle the birds are tiny specs in the trees. However, when looking through a camera lens you get to see all the detail and colour. Thanks also David for the music. It is one of my favourite tunes and very appropriate for this video.

Rhino Sounds by Banditt


Firstly its great to have a video from Banditt again, I have been missing your creations. This had me in absolute stitches, well chosen. Its just unbelievable, I have never heard such noise coming from one animal. Anyway, it kept me entertained and I hope it does you as well. Thanks Banditt.

'the flames in our eyes, the fire in our hearts'

When the fire burns low, and the embers whisper to us, the coals can tell a story, so ancient that history has forgotten. Somewhere deep within our phyletic memory or maybe our primal beings, we can remember fire. Something that once scared us, enchanted us and captivated us. Something that changed us forever. It is almost forgotten. In forgotten history, before the ancient times, but fire is part of us. Long before we could remember, or record our thoughts, or even share our thoughts in conversation. Long before we exploded on our planet, humans have sat around the fire. I do not know much ancient history, but I do know that what we can see in fires today, was there long before the wheel, steel, space travel or even most words. It was there before and during the dawn of the thinking man, and will be there after the end of him. So there WE are, opening a door to share the thoughts we feel, looking with eyes that are the window to our soul, and simply expanding the space of LIVE and life. The fire has been a powerful friend to me ... a companion that has been with me in some of my deepest and truest moments, and has spoken to me when my heart felt free to listen. I have spent more moments around campfires than most, and am yet to ever be bored when looking into one, or sharing it's warmth with friends. It is magical, beautiful and will always be a part of our primal, tribal soul. I do not quite understand, but last night, I could feel you there, and WE will all get more comfortable, but what we'll share around a fire with each other, will be deeper than what we can put on a table, write about, talk about, and sharing the same fire, goes further than we can even remember. I look forward to the journey with you, but if WE can take time to talk around a fire, WE will grow together, and the passion we feel in our hearts, will be the flames that light up our eyes ... you are in our nature.
Thoughts by Pieter Pretorius

Why is this the most viewed WE video on YouTube?

Don't get me wrong, I know that wild dogs are cool and popular, but why did this video get over 22,000 views on YouTube when there are literally hundreds of others about wild dogs that are just as good.
I would be very interested to hear theories on why this video is streaking out in front.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Eyes are the window to the soul.

This past week at WildEarth has been very eventful for me watching from final control. Besides the obvious urge of wanting to be out there in the bush myself (as that's what we wildlife filmmakers most want). Something struck me inside and reminded me of an African proverb my great grandfather once taught me when I was still a little boy, he said: 'Until lions tell their own tale, the stories of the hunt will always glorify the hunter'. What would Wonkie's thoughts be on his relationship with Pieter. WE won't be hearing directly from Wonkie.
Well if you ask me, Pieter has a soft spot for elephants, and especially Wonkie. They say the eyes are the window to one's soul. Take a good look at Pieter's eyes when he talks about Wonkie, his love for this beautiful animal is powerful.
Having done that take a closer look at Wonkie's eyes when Pieter is photographing him ... he (Wonkie) is so calm and sometimes seems to be enjoying it ... 'talking' back. He is now very comfortable in the presence of the Jiga (WildEarth vehicle). I am sure many of you would agree. It is this close relationship between the audience and WildEarth that reminds us why we do what we do, and why its in our nature.
Words by Motheo Seleke
(Please let us hear from you about your perceptions of Pieter's interactions with Wonkie. Post a comment to this Blog.)

Friday, 18 July 2008

Facebook and the fireside chat

Kind of liked this shot of the two friends: Wonky and Pieter. WE have been seeing a fair amount of Wonky recently ... and a fair amount of Pieter as well come to think of it.
Thought I would invite you to all join the official WE Facebook group if you are not already a member take a look. It's amazing how many friends have been made over the years around these LIVE cams and their addictive views into the African wilderness. I have even heard stories of people getting married after 'meeting' in the communities that have sprung up. Obviously Facebook is a very big community and therefore a great way to stay in touch with all your WE and wildlife loving friends. As of today I have started using the event system within FB, so that you can diarise and remember to join us for the fire side chat that WE have every Sunday evening after the game drive. If you have questions that you would like the crew to answer, please send them to fire@wildearth.tv
Not to be forgotten, or out done by small social networks like Facebook, is our very own little social network dedicated to everything WE. If you haven't already you must sign up to be a member, it's free and it's a great place to meet other WE addicts and to share your thoughts, videos, pics and so much more.
Marco and Alex are both back from leave, and both of these dynamic filmmakers are working on an exciting new show each, but more about that in a few days.
Graham

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

are WE not all lucky?

Don't you just love nature? I certainly do. It's not the obvious things that get my attention though. In fact as I often say to the crew: 'while I watch a lot of our LIVE video, I very rarely watch the content'. Mostly I watch the algorithms, the codec, the bandwidth, etc. Many of you probably think that is sad, and I suppose it is in a way. But I do enjoy the stills. Could be because LIVE wildlife was about stills for me first. Or because my dad got me hooked on wildlife photography when I was a kid, when he gave me my first camera. Or maybe there is a magic in just one moment that is difficult to appreciate when you are bombarded with 25 frames per second ... but leaps into motion when it stands alone ... like this stunner above.
As you are all probably very aware, the batteries on the Jiga are near the end of their natural lives. The winter drags on. The clutch on my old car will soon give up the ghost, two of our three drive cameras are in the shop and the sound remains a battlefield. Although I must say I am constantly amazed at how Pieter, Rex, Alex, Simpiwe, Marco, Motheo and the whole crew manage to continue delivering magic long after others would give up and long after logic says things should no longer work. I am very proud of this team. Every one of them a soldier. Motivated by love and passion, and fueled by an unrelenting will to broadcast ... we are WildEarth, and WE have only just begun!
I am very proud of you all, the crew, the viewers and the animals ... thank you. You are all stars, and it has always been in your nature ... and it always will.
Graham

Monday, 14 July 2008

Locate Yourself

I must say, I have traveled a lot (depending on your definition of a lot) but I had never before seen this part of Africa nor the splendor that is Djuma. Immediately upon arriving I beheld a new world. The place was different, the air smells different, the wild animals were of a different sort. I was in a new place and indeed there was room for wonder …
The people here spoke a language that sounded very familiar to me … after a minute on hiatus it struck me, this is Shangaan – my mother speaks Shangaan but I have grown only to hear it spoken when we have family and relatives over during festivities … now that was my favorite time while growing up (more on that some other time).
The camp is awesome … we also have a lot of animal visitors … some of them are welcomed, and others, like the rat ...
I have met great people, and animals, who embrace this concept of bringing wildlife stories LIVE to audiences around the world, its in their nature and its certainly starting to creep in mine.

Words by Motheo Seleke

(News: Check this out: http://www.zaplive.tv/we?langId=de_DE It was made by Zaplive.tv (the hosts of our new Flash service at www.wildearth.tv) It is an early German language version of potential International sites.)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

WE weekly video highlights

Hi everyone and welcome to the Sunday night video highlights of the week. I have been in the UK visiting my family since Tuesday and so have missed most of the drives. However, having looked through the video section on the social network I realise it has once again been a fantastic week. WE have a new staff member called Motheo who seems to be settling in really well. Some of you may have just seen him on the fireside chat this evening chatting with Rexon. Welcome Motheo, I hope that you are enjoying WildEarth and Djuma. I am going to start with what looked to me like the best sighting from the week: Saseka at night ... up a tree ... with a kill ... wow!
words by Emily Wallington

Saseka Live by edpbs

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Firstly I love the light. Her colours are so vivid in the spotlight, she look asolutely beautiful. She is an amazing cat and I especially like it when she jumps up the tree and stands majestically on the branch with her kill. Thanks to edpbs for cutting out the bad signal that WE had as she climbed the tree. You have definitely put the best parts in, it was well made. Thanks. This was an exciting sighting which was a good highlight from the week.

Lazy days by Marty

As I am sure that lots of you know by now I love this old style film look. It is great in sepia and the fact that it looks like there are scratches on the film really makes it feel authentic. The jazzy music is wonderful and all together I would give this top marks for editing effects and music. A real entertainment, thanks.

Teenager Elephant by edpbs

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Thanks again edpbs for capturing this evenings elephant sighting. It was great to see the ellie really trying to communicate with Pieter. The smelling with the trunk, trumpeting and general closeness to the vehicle was awesome to see. It was also nice to see that the elephant didn't seem to be scared or angry but just curious. A really great sighting, thanks.

For Pieter by David Keen.

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Thanks to David for this wonderful collage of shots to great music. I have noticed that you have become quite active in making videos for the community recently, so thanks for that. Also I see that you deeply appreciate Pieters fantastic knowledge and communication skills as a Presenter. I couldn't agree with you more. He is a fantastic WE crew member and brings so much of Africa to our viewers. Thanks to David for putting together these wonderful shots.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I dreamt of Africa

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, for me, that journey may have been started by the pull of ancestral memory. I recently bounced off the road of suburban South Africa down a mostly dusty track that led me to the beauty that is Djuma (the home of WildEarth) in the Sabi Sands, South Africa.
There is enormous conservation value in working with everyone at WildEarth, in the two days I have been here it's common to feel as though you're at the mercy of the animals: they appear when they feel like it and do interesting things (such as mate, kill and sometimes nothing) only when it suits them. But it comes as no surprise to be kept from my room by what I thought was, a leopard in the camp. WE hope that you have enjoyed the wildlife visuals we have been streaming to you as we have enjoyed bringing them to you … wherever you are in the world. Its in our nature …
words by Motheo Seleke

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

WElcome Motheo

WE are excited to have Motheo join us. He is a very passionate wildlife filmmaker who has worked from The Okavango Delta to the Kalahari. Motheo is committed to making a difference to the way the world sees wildlife and getting people involved in conserving our wild animals. He was born in Maputo, but grew up near to the worlds biggest man made hole in Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa. Like Alex and Marco, Motheo studied the art of wildlife filmmaking at the Wildlife Film Academy in Cape Town.
WE are sure that you will get to know more and more about this dynamic new addition to the team that never stops bringing you Africa LIVE 24/7.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Highlights of the week

Well, its Sunday night, the fireside chat is over and now its my turn to post some of the best made videos from the week. It's been a fantastic week as Rex and Pieter mentioned tonight at the camp fire. WE have seen a total of 6 leopards, the most exciting being Safari who is in the picture above. She is an old faithful in the Sabi Sands and WE are so excited that she is now in our area. As I am sure that you all know by now she is blind in one eye as you can see in the picture. Another of our favourites who has been in the area (literally) is Safari's daughter,Karula. Tonight was the third night that she turned up in camp and had playtime with the laundry. It is unfortunate that WE did not notice because the fireside chat was on, otherwise WE could have filmed it LIVE.

Thank you once again to our creative and inspirational viewers for all of your videos. I have picked three of my favourites to show you but I loved them all. I am off to the UK tomorrow for three weeks to see my family for the last time before I have the baby. However, I will keep checking the videos from there and hopefully still be able to post my favourites next Sunday. Enjoy.......
Emily Wallington

WILDEARTH LIVE 24 x 7 by WorldTeachers.

Thanks so much for putting together this wonderful montage of shots and sightings. It was very emotional to see footage that has been recorded over such a long period of time. It was well edited and your choice of music was perfect. I enjoyed seeing some of the behind the scenes stuff and even Angie from when she first came and did a drive. It is a great archive that will be kept in WE's history forever. Thanks.

The Evening Skies of Djuma by Calista

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This was so therapeutic to watch. Sometimes I forget how wonderful the African sky can look in the bush and it can vary so much from night to night. I really enjoyed watching this collection and the world music just enhanced it. I felt like I needed to get a sun downer while watching it. Thanks for choosing a new angle Calista, it really worked.

Wonderful world by edpbs

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When I watched this,I really did feel like the world is a wonderful place. As I said earlier WE saw a total of six leopards this week and there are a good few of them in this video. They are such stunning animals and when filmed up close the detail in their face is amazing. Thanks again edpbs for a wonderfully edited and produced video - I am sure that everyone will agree that leopards seem to be very 'in' at the moment!.

Sad Farewell...

It's a few days shy of a fortnight. Marco has already had an influence, and I find his healthy eating habits have rubbed off on me. Pieter has educated me as to appreciate a good photograph vs a really bad one. My Shangaan friend Rexon is exhausted from my questions on the history of Djuma and it's beautiful four legged residents. I've scared off monkeys from the kitchen, birds out of my shower and I've had a leopard roll all over my laundry. And I have enjoyed every moment of it!
But I'm sad to say I won't be staying on at WildEarth. I have been offered a position at a lodge in the Kruger National Park, where I will be able to work with my fiance and I realise now how important to me that is.
Emily and Graham have been phenomenally understanding and supportive, being more like friends than employers, and I am eternally grateful for all they have done.
WE never know what the future may hold, but most certainly all things good. One never knows, you may hear my voice again!
Written by Angie

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Visit from Karula.

Bellies full from a well earned dinner, we sat around the fire relaxing. It was a still night and we had been estimating how far the leopard was we heard calling not 5 minutes ago. Rustling about caught our attention near the clothes line only to behold a leopard! An inquisitive one with a fetish for laundry. I've never seen Pieter move so fast. He was gone in a flash, and suddenly back, camera in hand. One by one, she tenderly pulled each item off the line, first with a claw, then with her teeth, giving each one a sniff. Wet clothes on the ground, she started to roll. She would stop and smell, then roll again and so she carried on until each and every item lay on the floor in a crumpled mess.
You can imagine our excitement! Hours spent on a game drive vehicle, tracking this elusive creature, and here one arrives for our entertainment. Eventually the clothes line was cleared, and a damp carpet of sand and fabric lay under her. Her fascination now satisfied, she gave us a glance, slowly turned, and disappeared into the night.
It seemed to be Karula. She appears to be in oesterus by the activity observed lately. Calling for males, sniffing on scent trails. This is what a female leopard will do when she is ready to mate. Her sense of smell being heightened now, the smell of softener on the clothing was very tempting!
We observe these creatures daily in their world. When they enter ours, they create a sense of magic that lingers. That magic lingered all night long, and the chatter around the fire was that of childlike excitement. We cheersed a beer, and retrieved the clothes only to find a few small holes and tears. This morning when we showed Rexon the pictures, he recognized her.
'Oh, Karula!'
The little temptress...!!

Written by Angie

(Note: I made a bit of a DNS mistake yesterday, and as a result the www.wildearth.tv URL is going to take another 24 hours or so to start working. Less haste more speed.)

Friday, 4 July 2008

WE are on the move ...

Well its finally happened, WildEarth has begun the transition to Flash. You can go and take a look at the beginnings of our new website here. (The address www.wildearth.tv will take you to the site, but it will be another 24 hours or so before this address has propagated through the net and is working properly.)
WE are encoding the video and audio in the new Flash H.264 codec (you will need version 9 of Flash), which allows for slightly better quality for the same bandwidth, but also far more flexibility in terms of things like archiving, mashing, advertising, etc.
The existing two Windows Media 9 streams (Los Angeles and South Africa) will continue for a while longer so that you can still 'rip' the video for your mash ups, because we understand that it is not as easy to record the Flash stream. In time however WE will add functionality that is going to make this super easy and fun.
If you have any comments, concerns or thoughts about the new site or the new stream please either bring it up on one of the forums in the WildEarth social network or mail webmaster@wildearth.tv
WE appreciate all your support over the past year and a half while WE waited for a website of our own, but now we are there AND we have the capacity to serve many many thousands of viewers simultaneously. So the time has finally come to begin promoting WildEarth.TV. WE would like to ask you, our dedicated viewers, to help us. Please tell all your friends (and anyone else) about us and ask them to join you LIVE in Africa on safari at www.wildearth.tv. Lets see how big and successful WE can make this together ... it truly is in our nature!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Batteries!!

WE fight an ongoing battle with power on the game drive vehicle. And recently we have been loosing that battle, but hopefully the tide has turned in our favour.
You see, its not that we forget to take spare batteries for the camera (as many of you think) because its not the camera that is running out of batteries. The camera is the simplest and least energy consumptive part of our transmission system. In order to get the video signal from the game drive vehicle back to the Final Control WE encode the video then modulate that data and finally amplify and transmit that modulated signal. This requires three large energy intensive systems that all run on 220 volt AC current, which is supplied by an inverter. The inverter is powered by 5 x 110 amp hour batteries (each one about twice the power and size of your car battery). These five batteries are cycled twice per day in order that WE can do two game drives, this cycle just happens to be absolutely the worst timing for battery health, but there is nothing we can do about it. As a result we destroy batteries every few months.
This morning we swapped the five batteries and filled them with distilled water. If we are lucky this will do the trick and we'll get another few weeks out of them. Sorry for the inconvenience and irritation.
On another note Marco is going on leave tomorrow for two weeks. He has worked super hard during his first tour at WildEarth and WE are very grateful for his effort. Have a great holiday and we will see you in two weeks.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

This Week @ WildEarth # 5

This week was a great week for sightings. Although we had a few problems with the Jiga resulting in the loss of some of the drives, there were a great variety of animals around the rest of the time which made up for it. One of my favorites was the huge python skin that Pieter found. I think it is the biggest snake I have ever seen, hopefully we might actually get to see the owner when the weather gets a bit warmer. Catching a glimpse of Safari for the first time in WildEarth's history was a spectacular highlight. She is a famous cat in the Sabi Sands and also the mother of our beloved Karula. Thanks to everyone for putting together a variety of different highlight packages this week. As usual there is a serious amount of creativity flowing amongst our viewers. Koloakid made 'A week in the African Bush' which is a wonderful collection of pictures from the week. They are beautifully put together to great music. You are a great editor, maybe you should try video, I think you would be great at it. Anyway, thanks, I really enjoyed it. Once again I have to say that this week Sagresta's is my favourite. Her weekly highlghts video was made in an old film style, I loved it. The beginning part which was behind the scenes had some fantastic effects. The old film and speeding up of footage was classic and a lovely change to the norm. You managed to get all the good sightings from the week in and all in all it was a great bit of entertainment. Thanks and well done.
Weekly Highlights By Sagresta

Find more videos like this on WildEarth.TV

For the next few weeks WE are going to take a break from the behind the scenes show. Marco leaves for his holiday on Friday and WE will resume the show when he gets back ... with some exciting new changes.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Magic all around.


Our Shangaan friend has worked his magic yet again! Trust Rexon to find us a leopard this morning. I'm not sure who was more excited, with Rexon doing a victory greet to the heavens, those in final control or the viewers at home sitting with anticipation in front of their screens. He truly knows how. 'Mike and the 5 kids' have fondly dubbed Rexon 'The Leopard Tracker' and Mike said that the kids get incredibly excited when they see Rexon is on the trail of a leopard. As for the male seen this morning, Rexon said he's not quite sure exactly which male it was. He suspects one of the Safari females cubs but can't say for sure. Last night WE heard lions vocalising and again this morning. Were they the Kahumas. Or were they the Mapogos? Only time will tell.

Not forgetting, the baboons are back in town. For those watching, they were at the waterhole just after game drive. Never a dull moment with these little fellas, they make for interesting viewing. Alas, they also make for a whole lot of trouble! Fingers crossed, they don't climb towers or create havoc with any of the cables or camera's. WE will be here 16h00 CAT ready to get out there and bring you the magic. Make sure you're in front of that screen!