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Update posted by Nick Bernardus Johannes Petrus van Doormaal On Sep 29, 2021

Amazing to see we are almost halfway with the campaign! Thank you so much to everyone who supported Transfrontier Africa! I'm sure everyone who has visited TA or elsewhere in Africa has a cool animal encounter. Mine happened about 3 years ago while piloting a study together with Paul.

In the pilot study, we were trying to figure out what the best method was to set fake snares to test whether they get detected by ranger teams. Paul helped with identifying a few test locations and we set out to set a number of these snares.

All went well, and we arrived at the site without any problems. We quickly scouted the site and found a good spot to conduct our little experiment. We're chatting while walking back to the car, but suddenly spotted two large animals on my right: two black rhinos, a mother and an older calf. The rhinos were already looking in our direction, but still not sure whether we were a threat or not. Paul quickly took charge of the situation and guided us away from the rhinos. Luckily nothing happened, but my heart was racing! I also remembered Paul's words: "Keep an eye out for any climbable trees". Not a reassuring thought, but happy that we and the black rhinos are safe.

The next problem was that the rhinos were in between us and the car. This means we had to take a little detour and loop around to get to the car. However, the rhinos were in our way, again! This time we spotted them before we did. Paul heard a chewing sound and went to check it out what actually was going on. Apparently, the mom and young rhino also looped around but in the opposite direction, or somehow followed us. But again, no conflict and we managed to leave them feeding in peace while still being in one piece.

I've never experienced rhinos this close and it's a totally different experience to see them on foot instead of from a vehicle. It makes you feel very vulnerable, but also makes you respect the animal so much more. They have their own space and have been surviving for generations. For that reason alone these animals, but also all other wildlife for that matter, deserve our respect and support.

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Update posted by Nick Bernardus Johannes Petrus van Doormaal On Sep 24, 2021

Whenever I visited TA and Olifants West, I pretty much always stayed at 'Nonwane'. For the ones who do not know: Nonwane is the research facility of Transfrontier Africa. Most visiting researchers or master students stay there to carry out their work and studies.

I always enjoyed staying at Nonwane; even though it's not as rustic as the camp, but it's a good workstation. And just like the camp, it is also not fenced! Meaning that all kinds of animals stop by for a coffee or a chat! =) There's always a pair of steenbok hanging around, at night we hear hyenas on the old airstrip, honey badgers looking for leftovers. But it's always a pleasure when the elephants visit! Often visiting in the early evening, but I also had some encounters during the day. It's amazing how quietly they can sneak up on you! If you just keep calm and keep your distance, the elephants are often not bothered by your presence and just keep on going with their daily elie business.

Elephants are an all-time favourite to watch and I really hope you support to TA's work in protecting the elephants and their natural habitat.

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Update posted by Nick Bernardus Johannes Petrus van Doormaal On Sep 23, 2021

Yes! The first donations for Transfrontier Africa are in! Thank you so much to everyone who donated! If you haven't, now is your chance to do so!

Today, Facebook reminded me that it has been 8 years since I first visited Africa. It was my first time seeing wild animals in their natural environment. Before I've only seen animals in zoos and the occasional deer in Europe. It's such a different world and it's amazing to see so many different species all living together. My ecology background told me that most species are specialised and therefore do not compete with other species. Others are generalist feeders and can even survive in the direst circumstances. And then the predators! I'm sure everyone experienced many different feelings at the same time when they first encountered their lion, leopard or hyena. They're beautiful, strong, but also a little scary. For me, the best word to describe everything was respect; these animals have survived (just as we have) and for that fact alone they should deserve our respect.

It's this attitude that I really admire from everyone at TA. They do not sensationalize animals or their behaviour but respect all animals and their environment. This means for us, humans, to sacrifice a few luxuries that we are so used to. But I think it's a good thing to take a step back and be grateful for things we have back at home, but also to realise that not everyone is as fortunate as most of us.

If you decide to travel to Africa (and I strongly recommend you do so at least once in your life), please do so in a respectable and responsible way. Unfortunately, there are still organisations hiding behind the banner of conservation. Luckily, there are many resources online that you can use to find the perfect place for you. I was also happy to see that Transfrontier Africa was rated very well! =D

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Update posted by Nick Bernardus Johannes Petrus van Doormaal On Sep 21, 2021

My birthday is coming up and I decided to put the spotlight on my favourite nature conservation organisation: Transfrontier Africa. I've been extremely lucky and grateful to have been working with the team for the last five years or so. In an attempt to show my appreciation for them, I've deiced to set up this fundraising campaign. Instead of asking for birthday presents, I would love for other people to check out this organization and simply donate 'your present to me' to them.

Please don't get me wrong, I love to get presents. But at the same time, the same gift you may give to me or someone else can be of so much more value in the right hands.

If financial giving is not in the cards for you, please share this campaign online on your profile or with a friend. And share your stories of when you visited Africa for the first time and how it impacted you. Personal stories go a long way to inspire people around the world to join.

Thank you very much and I hope together we can make the world a little better.

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