Here is just a little letter from Gus and Margie Mills to you all. There will be a little farewell party for the Mills tonight where the staff of SANParks will say there Good Buy's
It’s hard to believe that we have been back in the Kalahari for nearly six years. We have had a marvellous time with many adventures and memorable experiences.
For the first two years or so we employed the services of Bushmen Trackers lead by Buks Kruiper. They were invaluable in helping us to find cheetahs and we certainly learnt a lot with them. After we had managed to radio collar a number of cheetahs and found that it was quite feasible to follow them and observe their behaviour at first hand, we weaned ourselves from the trackers. We have collared and followed the movements of 20 cheetahs, spending nights on end in our roof tent out in the dunes. We have recorded well over 500 kills, identified about 120 individual cheetahs, got DNA from almost as many, and recorded the fates of about 20 litters from birth to independence.
We have now reached the stage where we have to concentrate on trying to interpret and make sense of all these observations. Besides, as much as Gus would like to, we know that we can’t live forever in this beautiful paradise and so we must move on. As from 1 May we will be stationed in Oxford, UK where Gus will be attached to the University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and Margie will be learning about life in a rather different environment, where the nearest shop is more like 2.5 km not 250 km away. We plan to spend about 9 months in the UK and then will return to Nelspruit where we will settle.
One of the highlights of our time in the KTP has been meeting so many visitors along the roads while observing cheetahs. We are most grateful to the significant role many visitors have played in our study by passing on information, and especially for sending us photos that have helped us to monitor the activities of the cheetahs. Please don’t stop sending photos as SANParks are planning on continuing to monitor the four large carnivores and new brochures will be available shortly.
Gus and Margie Mills
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Parkjan.firstname.lastname@example.org