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Where, oh where, is W12?

We’ve just been sent another update from Konrad at the Shamwari Game Reserve. They received a new intake of volunteers and set them straight to helping out. The first task for the volunteers was to help out with looking for a white rhino cow, known as W12, which had been missing for a couple of weeks.

Because of heavy rain, many of the roads around where the rhino cow was usually spotted were closed, making access difficult. They were unfortunately unable to locate the animal, although another search is scheduled for next week. The staff set up camera traps in strategic positions in the hope of spotting the rhino.

Another of the roles that the volunteers assisted with was cleaning and refreshing the water points in the Potes buffalo nursery. They also monitored the young buffalo, which Konrad has noted is growing very quickly.

Wednesday morning saw the arrival of one of the Eastern Cape’s most renowned story-tellers, Brian Mullins. Brian’s enthralling speech helped the volunteers to understand the history of the Eastern Cape and the strong influence that the currents of history have had on the area that has become Shamwari Game Reserve.

Thursday saw the group preparing to leave for their sleep out on the reserve. The weather forecast predicted heavy rain, but not until the following morning, so the trip went ahead. The group set out after lunch to construct the camp and to set out the ‘bush rules’.

At midnight the group were awoken by the sound of a lion not far off, and seemingly getting closer. The group was on alert and listened closely, only for the interloper to go silent. At four o’clock the lion once again made its presence known, this time it was even closer.

Konrad and Graham cautiously set out to explore, but, just before difficult decisions needed to be made, the heavens opened and the rain came. They shouted to the students to wake them up and begin taking down the camp.

Although the rain signaled a premature end to the camp, the students will never forget their close encounter with the lion, along with their other experiences while at Shamwari.

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