First day on the job with African Wildlife Management and Conservation. By 9AM we had tracked, darted, and loaded a 450 pound Eland. After we transported it about 40 miles and released it, we shifted to moving 4 lions from one area to another so that we could then dart 4 more lions and move them into the first area. Within 200 yards or so of us there were (that I could see) some 17 lions, mostly females. During our “lunch break” at 2PM we hand fed two 1 month old lion cubs (about the size of large house cats) from baby bottles, and played with a frisky and friendly 4 month old white lion cub (about the size of a large bobcat). Nearby—about 50 yards– was the second (9 months old) of the only two white lions in all of Zimbabwe. We ended the day loading 3 horses (not clear why) into the big game truck for transport to another area. During the 2 hours or so that this took, two curious giraffes came over to within 50 yards, zebras (4), impala (maybe 30), wildebeest (maybe 30-40), baboons (perhaps 100), Eland (8), and numerous birds observed us—all within 250 yards or so. All aspects were immediate hands-on, ranging from me taking the respiration of the Eland by holding my hand over its nose and counting while also logging heart rate and other vital signs reported to me by the on-hand vet, to helping to get the Eland in and then out of the truck, watching the behavior of the drugged lions, and helping to boost the most resistant horse into the truck. Took a short hike to see some ancient (thousands of years old) paintings on rocks that included wildlife (Eland-like shapes) and stick figures that look like they were to represent people. Just out here in the wilderness. Spent a lot of time talking with the folks about the things that they could do (we were asked for this) to “get the word out” about what they were doing and what they could do to grow their business in a sustainable manner without losing the wildlife focus. Made suggestions about what they could do in the “off season” to stabilize their revenue stream, build research relationships with educational institutions (e.g., universities—especially in the US), and how they could attract more paying volunteers like us and paying students for course/research credits, etc.). We got back to our lodging at 9:50PM. Power out so just cleaned up as much as possible and went to bed for a 6:30AM departure to go track, dart, load, transport some wildebeest and another Eland.

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