Bio-blitz: a frenzy of scientific activity

When it comes to assessing the environmental health of an area, the idea is to be able to quantify and monitor all aspects of the ecology of that particular region, everything from frogs and snakes, to spiders and mammals. Identifying large animals such as antelope, and even birds, although sometimes challenging, is nothing in comparison to some of the smaller creepy crawlies that actually make up the majority of the biodiversity of any area. So how is it to be done?

50/50
heads of to the Limpopo province to where a dedicated team of experts in their respective fields are performing their annual ‘bio-blitz’. Armed with nets, traps, jars and plenty of passion, the team have 48 hours to catch and record as many critters as they can. There is even ‘the fly lady’, complete with her rather revolting bag of unidentifiable rotting matter – every organism is important.

Danger files: Python under the bed

As children, many of us will repeatedly check under the bed for any signs of ‘the boogy-man’, ready to grab us around the ankle. As we grow up, we mostly forget about the nightly terrors, and the worst thing we normally find under out bed is a dust bunny. However, for one woman, this childhood nightmare actually came true, when a 12 foot python, having retreated under her bed for warmth or in search of prey, grabbed hold of her ankle with its row of razor sharp teeth.

Wildlife Wonder: cheetah of Kapama

In the human world it is often said that ‘cheaters’ never prosper. In the animal kingdom, the very same adage applies, but in the more literal sense. Cheetah’s have much to contend with. Other bigger more aggressive predators, shrinking habitats, and high cub mortality. We follow the heart-wrenching journey of a mother cheetah at the Kapama Game reserve, as she fights to raise her little family of cubs.

Veld Focus

A crocodile demonstrates the perfect ambush, a leopard goes into stealth mode, and the team get a good look at one of South Africa’s most covert critters.

This episode of 50/50 airs on Sunday, 28 June at 17:30 on SABC3.