Series of short documentaries by the photographers

Dear readers,

I received an email from the photographers Denis Palanque and Nathalie Houdin saying that they wanted to present a series of short documentaries around their time in the Karoo. These documentaries are not directly linked to our work at the Karoo Predator Project but were shot during the photographers’ trips to the Karoo. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did! The first episode involves big fluffy birds.

Here is their message:

The realization of our story following the steps of the conservation biologist Marine Drouilly, in the heart of the arid territories of the Karoo in South Africa, was also an opportunity for us to get in touch with people living in this great region every day.

These incredible encounters allowed us to overtake the stereotype and discover how much these people love their land, in spite of the harshness of their lives.

So, we propose to introduce you to these incredible encounters with a series of short episodes combining photos, texts and sometimes short videos.

Episode I : François Botes’ Ostrich breeding farm

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Francois Botes and the ostriches he is taking care of in the Klein Karoo.

Even though our story is centered on the valuable work of Marine Drouilly and her profound desire to understand the biological and sociological mechanisms around the conflict between sheep farmers and Jackals and Caracals, we also had the opportunity to meet a breeder of a different kind on the foothills of the Swartberg mountains that border the west and north of the Klein Karoo.

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For Francois Botes, extensive sheep farming is not a viable option due to the proximity of the mountains, because even if Jackals would not have been a big problem, the nearby mountains hide another predator: the leopard.

So, François began to take a different path and is in charge of an ostrich farm!

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And to a small ball of spotted feathers fitting in one hand to a bird of nearly 2 meters, ostriches rather are well-suited candidates to live in this region.

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