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Travel Namibia 19 Unlike many Hei-/// chum, Jan was able to return to Etosha. Some twenty years after his eviction he applied for a job with Namibia Wildlife Resorts. He missed the bush and wanted to see his parents' graves. His knowledge of Etosha became legendary. It was said he could look at the spoor of an animal and tell you what it was thinking, predicting with remarkable accuracy what it would do next. He progressed through the ranks from labourer to warden. Working in Etosha in the 1970s was frequently dangerous. The park was unfenced, and Jan had to round up animals that had strayed onto neighbouring farmland and bring them back to the park. He enticed lions back by galloping past them on a horse, dragging an antelope carcass. With the job came a small house at Namutoni where his son Abram was born in 1985 - possibly the last Hei-/// chum ever to be born in Etosha. His father was keen to pass on his bush knowledge, and Abram dreamed of becoming a park ranger or a safari guide even before he started school. " I always wanted to be close to my father when he was working, and when I couldn't go with him on patrol, I used to throw stones at the car when he left - luckily I wasn't a very good shot," remembers Abram, who now works as a guide with Mushara Lodge. During school holidays Abram worked with his father every day, including helping when Jan was part of the team that reintroduced black rhino to Etosha. Abram carries the engraved penknife that was given Jan on his last day at work. Now, when he takes tourists from Mushara on safari, he still visits that Ngobib Waterhole where his father was born. " Ngobib means ' place where water gets lesser,' and right now it is so dry it looks like a small cave," he says. Having been brought up in Etosha, Abram's knowledge of the park - including areas that are now out of bounds - is fascinating. Recently, he accompanied a photographer who had permission to visit Mushara Waterhole, in a restricted area. " I was so excited about the trip," says Abram. " I thought that when my father retired I would never get to visit there again. I was able to tell the photographer exactly what we'd see - lions, elephants and rhino, but no leopard. We went on five consecutive days, each time for twelve long hours. It was so beautiful. On the last day we saw 15 lions". It was a sight Abram enjoyed telling his father about. From father to son Guide Focus: Abram Tsumib from Mushara Lodge Abram Tsumib is from the Hei-/// chum, a nomadic San tribe that was forcibly moved out of Etosha in the early 1950s. Abram's father Jan had to leave his birth place, half a kilometre away from a snake- ridden waterhole called Ngobib. Abram Tsumib MARY ASKEW Abram on a game drive in Etosha, his ancestral home.

20 Travel Namibia Moro >> News · views · people · places · conservation · community · wildlife · culture Wildlife Rhino monitoring Camera snap Extra ' rhino monitors' are being drafted in to observe, record and protect rhino populations in Namibia. The monitors - or field scouts - are a crucial tool in the conservation of the black rhino which lives on conservancies and private land. Often these rhinos have been translocated as part of the Black Rhino Custodianship Programme. The programme takes rhinos from thriving groups - principally in Etosha - and re- locates them. This stimulates the donor population of rhino to reproduce, thus increasing the overall numbers. Currently there are not enough competent and dedicated monitors to record the daily progress of the animals, which puts them at risk from poachers. Save the Rhino Trust and the Namibian Ministry of the Environment are to run training courses at Ojovasondo in Etosha National Park for people keen to help. Birgit Kotting Birgit Kotting A curious young lion was caught on film moments before he ripped out a new waterhole webcam and used it as a toy. The waterhole at Andersson's Camp on the edge of Etosha is popular and has daily visits from kudu, springbok, black-faced impala, gemsbok, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, eland, zebra and giraffe. White and black rhino are also frequent drinkers, including a young black rhino named Oden and his friend ( for now) Asterix. Together Oden and Asterix put on a different show every evening as they try to dominate the waterhole. Staff decided to set up a camera- trap to see what was happening at the scene while everyone was in bed. Hyena, lion, rhino and most of the antelope species were caught on film. The camera took pictures without using a flash, so disturbance to the animals was negligible. Then one night a juvenile lion decided he wanted to play with the camera and tore it off the tree to which it was attached. The lion chewed holes in its casing and then dragged its ' kill' under a tree 500 metres away, where it lost interest. The last picture the camera took was of the lion ready to pounce. After these courses, the monitors will have up- to- date knowledge of each population of rhino. Trained monitors will ensure greater protection for individual rhinos, and also provide relevant management information on distribution patterns and population dynamics. In addition, professional surveillance and protection of black rhino populations in the communal conservancies will mean greater accessibility to the animals by guided tourists and less conflict between the rhino and members of the community. The project has been supported by UK- based Sindisa Foundation and Wilderness Wildlife Trust. Sindisa also operates a rapid response fund which it uses to support key projects when they encounter problems in the field, often small but critical problems that need small but immediate funding to resolve them. n www. sindisafoundation. org. uk safari and adventure co Caught on camera, moving in for the kill...