Up hill and down dale

In the last couple of months, the first baboon collars started to drop-off. Cheddar lost her collar after 2122 positions were recorded for 5 months and Brie after 2218-recorded positions. Now it’s time for data analysis.

Marion checking the last GPS point recorded by one of her baboon collars.

The other monitored troops kept their collar for a bit longer into the dry season and will continue to inform us on baboon movements during the critical transition period between the rainy and the dry season in the Karoo, when the conflict with farmers rises.

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After dropping off a GPS radio-collar, Marion has to localise it with a VHF antenna.

Here it is! Marion found the dropped-off collar on the side of a dry riverbed.

Interestingly, most of the retrieved collars were found next to dry riverbeds, with a dense and relatively high vegetation cover and various pools of water. As baboons are strongly dependent on water, their presence may be very much associated with the presence of riverbeds in this semi-desert landscape.

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Typical landscape where Marion finds baboon troops and dropped-off collars: a dry riverbed with pools of water, surrounded by mountains with cliffs to spend the nights.

Offering a nice cover, those spots may also be favoured by baboons during the hottest hours of the day for the shade they provide. We will soon verify this hypothesis by analyzing the recorded GPS tracks.

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Spot in a dry riverbed where baboons can find cover, shade, water and food.

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