Art. # 300
NATURE CONSERVATION MEASURES
ANIMAL FRIENDLY HABITAT
Camp Chobe takes an extra step in animal conservation
Text by Stefan Rust
Photos by Charmaine Beeslaar and Stefan Rust
(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)
The nature conscious managers of Camp Chobe, Charmaine and Riaan Beeslaar, pointed out an interesting observation to BirdsConTour; a pair of the scarce Grey-rumped Swallow is nesting and roosting in a rodent hole right in front of their restaurant.
This rodent hole is situated only about one meter away from the busy restaurant of Camp Chobe, in the lawn on the level ground. The entrance hole has a diameter of 3.5 cm and then leads about 13 cm vertically into the moist soil before it makes a sharp bend and forms a horizontal chamber.
About 18:10 the swallows pass the hole in low flight while chirping, almost as if they are locating the exact entrance via “radar”, almost as bats do, before the swallows then basically vanish by dive-bombing into the hole for roosting during the night. Another explanation for this low flight behavior, lasting about 10 minutes, might be to make sure no other small animal took occupation of “their” roosting hole or even to chase a possible inhabitant out, before entering. With closer observation BirdsConTour noted the Grey-rumped Swallows to fly into the hole also during daytime, assuming nesting activities.
Because this swallow species is classified as scarce and to only locally common and each insect eating animal helps keeping annoying insects around the lodge at bay, Charmaine, Riaan and BirdsConTour set heads together discussing how to avoid guests and staff members ruining the swallow home by unconsciously stepping onto this tiny hole and thereby driving these useful and scarce residents away.
The brainstorming resulted in setting up a signpost right next to the chamber of these Grey-rumped Swallows, reading, “Mind your step, swallow roosting hole”.
Already in 2013 BirdsConTour honoured Camp Chobe with a three penguin-rated award for their nature friendly practices. Camp Chobe strives to make use of biological practices in for instance keeping insects under control rather than using the chemical club and they strongly believe that their guests recognize and appreciate this strategy.