What is BushCam Adventures?

BushCam Adventures attempts to share some of the amazing images, stories and insights that I've collected during my camera-trapping adventures.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Camera-trap 1.....Lions 0

When Elephants, Lions or Hyenas take on a camera-trap the result is usually fairly predictable. Its not simply that the former three have home-ground-advantage but they also have many match-winning attributes. Attributes like 60mm canines or many tonnes of body-weight come to mind - and they don't tend to play 'friendlies'. So by the end of most encounters the camera-trap is facing relegation of one sort or another.  Sadly, for me, I seldom get to record the match!

Occasionally though, things go against the run of play ..... AND I got to record the game. This is what happened:
We had a number of cameras set up at waterholes in South Africa's Kruger National Park. All was going peacefully until a large pride of lions arrived during the early hours of one morning.

The cubs spent a lot of time examining the camera (which was loosely enclosed in a pile of rocks) but this was just curiosity rather than malicious intent. They wandered off after a while but the pride returned just before sunrise........

.......and things started to get more serious.

The lioness pulled the camera from the stone cairn which resulted in a number of photos which all looked something like this:

The camera somehow survived and took, in my opinion, the shot of the match:
Amazingly, they then left the waterhole and we recovered the camera later that day - with hardly a scratch!

So I guess lions do play 'friendlies' after all!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Just Elephants

In many parts of Africa the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is under huge threat. Habitat loss and the ivory trade are the major reasons over the last century. Recently we've heard appalling reports of  cyanide poisoning in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park.

But there are a number of wildlife reserves in Southern Africa where elephant populations are flourishing. I'm not qualified to comment on whether these reserves have an overpopulation problem or not, but amongst those that are qualified to comment, opinions are divided. The Kruger National Park has in excess of 16 000 elephants and these numbers are growing.

This was brought home to me in a very real way while I was camera-trapping there recently. My cameras probably recorded more elephants than any other mammal species at the water-holes where they were installed. They were so abundant in one area that I decided it would be financially irresponsible to leave cameras there (even though I consider losing the odd camera to be an occupational hazard!).

Herewith a few of the many camera-trap images:

What particularly struck me was the high proportion of youngsters in the breeding herds. For many of them it won't be long before they too are consuming in excess of 100kg of vegetation per day.

There is lots to love about elephants - their intelligence, gentleness and the way they care for their ill and elderly members. But I've just added another reason to love them: because they didn't mess with my cameras! There is no doubt that they knew the cameras were there but they left them alone, and as a result we can enjoy these photos.

And that is more than we can say about another iconic mammal that I will blog about shortly.....