MISSION 27 of 2011
Name of Mission: Pelindaba Animal Count
Date of Mission: 16 October 2011
Aircraft used: Cessna C182T
Pilot: Avroy Shlain
Beneficiary: Paul Bartels
Objective of the Flight
To document the antelope species composition, the number of individuals for each species, and any obviously unusual or other factors that may be affecting antelope populations on the NECSA property
Beneficiary’s story of the mission By Paul Bartels
Necsa is a para-statal that strives to maintain its facility in such a way as to promote conservation and sound wildlife / veld management. To this end it is important to have an idea of all the antelope present on the 1,500ha property, so as to develop and manage the veld and wildlife in a sustainable manner.
Unfortunately the count was not particularly successful with one or two elements working against the attainment of the objectives. These included the weather (gusting winds) and the rough terrain – a combination of mountain ridges and the deep valley which necessitated flying higher and faster than is optimal for spotting game.
Reports indicate that the Eland herd is upwards of 40 individuals and that there are a few zebra in the area. Amazingly, on the day, we spotted the zebra but not the eland. These reports of the numbers are recent, so it appears that poaching is not a big factor at this stage.
Eland do travel quite a bit, so a slightly wider search will help, and if we are able to do the count again, we should try a little earlier in the morning when the antelope may still be grazing and are therefore more likely to be in the open.
Thank you to The Bateleurs for this opportunity and to Avroy Shlain for his safe flying.
(Unfortunately, no photographs were taken on this mission.)