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 Post subject: Bushbuddies' The First 48... KNP Feb. 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Over the last week or two, South Africa has been buzzing with news, gossip and talk about a certain murder case. Everybody is giving their opinion, saying how they will approach it, who's right and who's wrong. Everybody has been playing "detective" through the media... :whistle:

With this as a backdrop, we left for a short weekend visit to KNP. We left Friday morning from Pretoria. At 13:00 we entered the park. Sunday 13:00 we exited at the same gate. We had spent 48 hours in Kruger.

It reminded me of a show on Crime and Investigation Network... "The First 48". The opening sequence rang: "For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving a murder is cut in half if they don't get a lead within the first 48 hours."

Join the Bushbuddies as they investigate Kruger for 48 hours.


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:46 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Friday 22/2/2013 13:00 - Malelane Gate 00:00

After a frustrating drive through the N4 (Waterval Boven-route), the Bushbuddies finally arrived at the scene for investigation. There were serious roadworks on the Schoemanskloof route and all cars were advised to follow the Waterval-Boven route. That meant sitting behind trucks, slower trucks and slowest trucks! :slap:

But they put all the frustration behind them. They were at the gate, and ready to roll. It has been a long time since they've been "on the job". The last time they did some investigation in KNP was in Sept 2012 - a long time for an investigator to sit and wait. They were hungry for some action...

Friday 22/2/2013 13:05 - The First Evidence 00:05

Within a few minutes we came across our first findings. We met up with these relatives of some of the victims in KNP. Unfortunately some of their relatives have been murdered in cold blood. :cry: This family of 4 has luckily survived, and were taking a peaceful afternoon nap:

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We decided to head North to Afsaal, to enjoy a late lunch, and possibly get some more clues from the sightings board there. On our way we noticed that there were already many "reporters" on the scene. Some came as far as from Europe to cover the story! 8)

The European Roller (Europese Troupant):

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The female Red-backed Shrike (Rooiruglaksman):

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As well as the locals - like this Southern White-crowned Shrike (Kremetartlaksman):

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At Afsaal we enjoyed a toasted sammie and some ice-creams. We noticed while we were eating, that the gossip had also started. Typical gossip/tabloid birds - the Arrow-marked Babblers (Pylvlekkatlagters):

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And then of course - the king of gossip - old Zazu himself! (Rooibekneushoringvoel):

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After leaving Afsaal, my SO stopped and said - "Look another white rhino!"

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It was something about the way he said it. "...another white rhino". I picked up the binoculars, and had a good look - then I realised: We had almost missed out on some crucial evidence here! :shock: In reality this was actually our second sighting ever in KNP of a black rhino! :dance:

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The investigation was starting off on a good note. To be continued...


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:09 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Friday 22/2/2013 16:00 - H3, On our way to Berg-en-Dal 03:00

After our stop at Afsaal, we were on our way to Berg-en-Dal to check in for the night. Even if you've been on the road for a whole day - if you're busy on a scene, trying to find clues - you have to focus and keep those eyes open!

We came across another team of investigators on the H3. These guys were busy in a pile of elephant dung - expert scatologists! :thumbs_up:

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Swainson's Spurfowl (Bosveldfisant)

Around the corner we found their prime "source"...

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I just couldn't resist taking another picture of the European Roller (Europese Troupant). These European reporters are so flashy - they just love to be noticed wherever they go!

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Friday 22/2/2013 17:00 - Arrival at Berg-en-Dal 04:00

We arrived at Berg-en-Dal at around 17:00. Booking in went smoothly and we were allocated to unit 28 (BA3U). A lovely unit with a perimeter view. We booked it in the hope of possibly getting some more evidence here during the night, while sitting on the stoep...

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Even though we felt very tired, time was ticking by and we still had some daylight to our disposal. The gates would close at 18:30, and after unpacking, we got back on the road, heading out on the Matjulu loop at 17:30 for the last hour of daylight.

Firday 22/2/2013 17:35 - Matjulu Loop 04:35

First we met up with some of the forensic pathologists - the Marabou Storks (Maraboe). These guys love getting involved in the nitty gritty of carcasses...

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This one even posed elegantly for the shot we needed for the report:

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After deep discussions about their opinions, we left the pathologists behind, and continued on the road. It could not have been 2km from camp, when we spotted our first suspect. :shock: A killer of note...

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We moved closer, slowly. Aiming, and ready to shoot - just in case... :sniper: My weapon: A Canon... :cam:

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I moved in, zoomed in on the finer detail of this suspect... and got some great shots!

To follow in the next episode....


Last edited by Bushbuddies on Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:29 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Friday 22/2/2013 17:45 - SUSPECT 1 in view 04:45

We were indeed lucky to get such a crucial suspect so early on in the investigation. Her name: Panthera Pardus.

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It wasn't long untill she realised she was being photographed:

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A beautiful lady, very photogenic...

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To be a good detective, one has to have a good memory. One has to remember faces, previous incidents, crimes and suspects. Something told me I've seen this lady before. Except she was much younger. I went through my files and got this shot I took - September 2011. A mere cub - but a killer instinct already!

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The photo was taken within a km of where we were now. I was sure it was the young Panthera who had now grown older. She still had a pink nose - she was still young...

She clearly became uncomfortable - she did find herself in an awkward position... :whistle: So she moved - and we were ready to shoot... :sniper: (I mean :cam: ) :wink:

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...she turned around, but did not come down as yet.

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Was she getting comfortable in our presence...?

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She gave us another stare. But her charms of seduction would not work on us - we knew how brutal she could be!

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We decided to drive back and change our angle. We were now in the last few minutes of daytime.

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A last close-up mugshot, before we return...

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For now, mugshots will have to do. We would need more evidence to link her to the crime. Our first 5 hours, 30 minutes had passed. What would the rest of the investigation reveal... :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:42 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
Friday 22/2/2013 18:30 - Camp - Berg-en-Dal 05:30

After a great afternoon of some good detective work, we spent our evening at Berg-en-Dal, BA3U unit nr 28. Lovely spot to get all your evidence together, think about them, and start working on the suspects. But, we were not alone. In the one evening, we had visits from 3 Waterbuck, 2 rhinos, 2 hippos and 1 bushbuck coming to drink from a pond right in front of our chalet. They heard we were in the area, and came to give us their side of the story over a drink or two... :wink:

Saturday 23/2/2013 5:30 - Berg-en-Dal 16:30

Any detective worth his/her salt, will know that to get the crucial evidence - you should be on the scene first thing in the morning! :rtm: And the Bushbuddies are always aware of this - so at 5:30 they were back on the scene again. Eyes open - ready to get the next clue... :big_eyes:

Saturday 23/2/2013 6:15 - Corner of the H3 and S110 17:15

After 17 hours and 15 minutes on the case, we met our 2nd group of suspects...

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A family of 8 adults - known as the Malelane Mafia. They were obviously resting after a busy night. All we were wondering - is what they've been up to the previous night... :hmz: Some of them were obviously very tired!

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With the 2 Godfathers, and their 6 ladies with them, we had a lot of suspects to keep our eyes on.

The most alert was Mrs Leo:

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She is married to one of the Godfathers - Mufasa Leo. Many have argued that she is a better "hunter" than the man himself. A good mugshot:

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One of her sisters, Ms Simba, became alert to our presence...

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Like Ms Pardus, she is a sly creature - can look very innocent - but has a killer instinct!

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Then - one of the godfathers - Mufasa Leo. Behind him - one of his mistresses...

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Mufasa is a ruthless killer. There are rumours that he had killed some cubs before to let his dominance be known! :shock:

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Most of the time, he seemed relaxed in our presence...

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But when my SO started looking at his mistress, he gave us a "What are you looking at, kid?" look... :shock:

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A final mugshot of Mufasa:

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He eventually got up, walked passed his brother, Scar (named so because of the burn mark he has on his shoulder - for identification purpouses), and settled in the distance under a tree.

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Scar, on the other hand, seemed very relaxed. He was sleeping all the time, while his girlfriend was yawning away behind him!

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We got our mugshots, took down their descriptions, and decided to move on. Chances were good that we would meet up with the mafia of the region again... :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:06 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Saturday 23/2/2013 - 7:20 Top Secret Destination 18:20

Our next clues came in the form of a road block. This group of rhinos were blocking the road:

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There were already some other cars and investigators on the road, yet these guys did not budge. The guy in charge seemed to want to make a point of sorts...

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There was something strange about his behaviour. These guys don't just tend to block the road and just stand there... :hmz: With a bit of patience, our investigation revealed the reason for his strange behaviour.

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Our roadblock officer was being confronted by another officer, who wanted to take over from him! The two started comparing horns...

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Before we knew it, an altercation broke out between the officers, and the rhino in charge took his women, and started walking away from the new kid on the block - approaching us! :shock:

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Everybody started reversing, we did not want to become the victims in another crime scene! :naughty:

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Eventually the herd stopped. They turned around. But the young guy was still standing there. He was not giving up on this fight.

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A Combi started coming from the other side, the guy in charge gave us a dirty look...

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The Combi eventually drove inbetween these two testosterone junkies, and they took off in opposite directions. We decided to then also move on, before they decide to start matching up their muscles again! :slap: We had work to do!


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1197
Location: Centurion
Saturday 23/2/2013 8:20 - Another Top Secret Destination... 19:20

Usually when one drives over a riverbed at a scene such as this, one should slow down, and look up and down the riverbed to look for possible hiding suspects. Buffalo is a common finding in these riverbeds. The next riverbed we crossed, we saw this guy lying there:

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Snoozing away. We decided to let him be and head on. We thought that with all the information gathered so far - it was time to hold a press conference to inform all the reporters on the latest. And what a better place to hold a press conference than Lake Panic!

On our way there we met up with some of the reporters. Not a common guy - the African Hawk Eagle (Grootjagarend):

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The next reporter was not interested in our press conference. He preferred reporting on the weather - especially on lightning and storms... The Hamerkop (also known as the weerligvoel / lightning-bird):

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And a common reporter on the ground - the Groundscraper Thrush (Gevlekte Lyster):

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On the little dirt road leading to Lake Panic - we spotted this Green-backed Heron (Groenrugreier) - but he just turned his back on us, and wanted nothing to do with the case!

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Then we arrived at Lake Panic. What a disappointment. After all our trouble of organising a press conference here - none of the reporters pitched! I've never in my life experienced this place this quiet before. No Grey Herons, no Goliath Herons, no Egrets, no African Darter, Kingfishers or Cormorants! :shock: Not even a Jacana or a Black Crake! :slap:

Only a single Green-backed Heron (Groenrugreier) sitting on a nest:

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We decided to wait, and whilest waiting - take more shots of the scene...

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But nobody pitched. Maybe they knew something we didn't. Or there was some new gossip they were all following. So after waiting for some time, we decided to leave. On our way back, we spotted this - the tiniest we've ever seen - terrapin! His shell was probably 5cm in diameter! :big_eyes:

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My husband always calls the terrapins "waterpasteitjies" (waterpies). We decided to call this one a "waterkrummeltjie!" (watercrumb) :lol:

And then - a special reporter. A new tick for us. Very attractive indeed, smooth and charming. A Long-tailed Paradise Wydah (Gewone Paradysvink):

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We decided to share our press update with him:

Saturday 23/2/2013 13:00 - On our way back to Berg-en-Dal 24:00

By now, the first 24 hours of our investigation has passed. Thus far we have gathered a great amount of evidence already:

- We found that there were still many survivours mourning the passing of their fellow rhinos. We even noticed a black rhino! :dance:

- We saw multiple reporters - some coming from as far abroad as Europe - indicating that this was indeed a high profile case!

- Forensic Pathologists were involved, and will be reporting on the case.

- Our first suspect - Ms Panthera Pardus - was noticed in the area, and mugshots were taken.

- Our second group of suspects - the Malelane Mafia - were placed under permanent surveilance (See Avatar).

This all happened in 24 hours. What will be revealed in the next 24 hours? Will the detectives crack the case.... :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:20 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Saturday 23/2/2013 13:55 - Another top secret destination 24:55

On our way back, in another riverbed this time, we found yet another white rhino sleeping in it! But on closer inspection, it did seem as if this rhino was not too well anymore - possibly old. He did seem very thin. Maybe he was in mourning... :(

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On our way back, we got reports from some of the other investigators in the park that the Malelane Mafia was still in the same area. They had moved 200m down, into the shade of some trees. They were quite difficult to spot. The scene was not a good one when we found it... :x There were other investigators, not complying with the rules - going off-road to get a better sighting of the mafia! :naughty:

But just then an Honorary Ranger arrived (so identified from the badges on her car). SO called her "Pseudoranger Suzie"... (Him and his names... :doh: :lol: ). She was not impressed with the situation and the law-breakers - and started cracking the whip on these guys. :D Once everybody was in legitimate positions again - we could spot some of the suspects much better.

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Way to go "pseudoranger Suzie"! :clap:

Saturday 23/2/2013 15:00 - Berg-en-Dal Camp 25:00

After the long drive and all the hard work of the morning, we decided to spend a bit of time in camp. But if you're a detective on the job - there is really no time to rest! Got to get cracking on the case! :thumbs_up:

So off we went to go and interview some locals, and also hear if there had been any scoops from some of the reporters.

The Brown-hooded Kingfisher (Bruinkopvisvanger) was sitting right outside our bungalow, waiting to hear what evidence we had gathered that morning.

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The tree squirrels were also eager to come and give their version of the events:

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Close to the restaurant, we found some Collared Barbets (Rooikophoutkappers) having a snack:

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While we were looking at this guy munching away, we heard a knocking. We decided to investigate... Just around the corner, we found more of these guys on a dead branch in a tree. There must have been at least 5 barbets, and at least 5 holes in that branch. They were taking turns to drill holes bigger. Almost looked like a "Barbet school"! :lol:

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Other reporters seen along the way in the camp were this Pale Flycatcher (Muiskleurvlieevanger):

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And the beautiful Grey-headed Bush-shrike (Spookvoel):

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Saturday 23/2/2013 - Afternoon Drive 17:00 28:00

We decided to go on a short afternoon drive around camp. We saw many more of the victims coming to tell their story:

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This guy sounded like a lawnmower chowing the grass...

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Other evidence we could gather from the scene - was this slow guy, who told us he just couldn't get away from the scene fast enough...

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And the reporter with the nice eyeshadow... Ms. Little Bee-eater (Kleinbyvanger):

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It was another good day on the job. After a long day of work, we turned in to bed early. The next morning we had an appointment at 5am with some of the local professional guides on the scene to take us on a sunrise drive, to see if we could gather more evidence in the early morning hours... :sleep:


Last edited by Bushbuddies on Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:03 am 
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Location: Centurion
Sunday 24/2/2013 5:00 - Sunrise Drive 40:00

Got up early to go on our sunrise drive at 5:00 - only 8 hours of time left... :whistle:

We were the only 2 going on the drive! :D Two detectives on an exclusive early morning drive out there to gather all the evidence we could. Jobe was our guide. An excellent detective himself. He is not usually stationed at the Berg-en-Dal station, but is an expert on the Sweni walk. Great to talk to him about that scene. Would love to go and do some investigation there in the future.

Back to our drive. We drove down the tar road. We hoped that we would catch some of the suspects while they were still lazing around on the tar road. :pray:

And almost at the end of the road - we found them! :dance: The Godfathers!

The ladies were not around. It was only us and the two of them - up close and personal!

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Although they did seem a bit tired - possibly after a busy evening... :hmz:

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We could really do some interrogation - we were that close to the big boss - Mufasa! :shock:

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After a while the big boss got tired of us - so he got up and left. So we shifted our attention to his brohter, Scar.

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But as soon as he realised his brother was fleeing the scene - he also decided to get up...

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... and started following him.

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This was followed by a quik chat to another family. Thankfully - no victims in their family as yet! :D

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What a great way to start a day of investigation - close-up interrogation and all! :D To be continued with a chat to the hawks. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
Sunday 24/2/2013 7:30 - Sunrise Drive 42:30

After our interrogation of the Godfathers of the Malelane Mafia, we decided to continue and share some of our findings with The Hawks. This particular unit is an amazing unit! They travel extensively, often evade serious danger and are just an amazing group of hawks.

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Amur Falcons (Oostelike Rooipootvalke)

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A lot of research and investigation has gone into this amazing group of birds. Please do go and read all about the writings of Duke on them at this link - it is so interesting:

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=87&t=69120&style=2&style=2&sid=02c209b008f2a17de5766f2d04aec091

Around the next corner, about the same spot where Pseudoranger Suzie had to get some order the day before, we saw one or two cars parked. There was great difficulty in getting a good view of the suspect...

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Because we were in the "investigating vehicle" of SANParks - we did have a bit of an advantage to spot this guy. Now if only he would stop hiding and show his face...

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Almost there...

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Finally - we could see his face! It was Ms Panthera Pardus' brother...

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Mr Pardus did not want to be interviewed. He just turned his back on us, and allowed very few a view of him...

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Could he be involved... :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:53 pm 
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Location: Centurion
The last few hours on the scene... 43:00 - 48:00

Somewhere along our drive at a Very Top Secret destination we had an amazing sighting. We approached a traffic jam. Another Roadblocker - maybe he wanted to check out the big white one with the red horn... :lol:

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As we approached, he must have realised that we were investigators, and he moved off the road to join some others in his family next to the road.

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Then I started counting them. It is important for reporting purpouses...

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6... 7, 8... 9.... 10 of these gorgeous animals in one scenic spot!

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What a beautiful scene - count them yourself:

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After a very successful drive with Jobe, we packed up all our evidence, and headed out on our last drive. We decided to first go up to Afsaal for a brunch, and then to exit the scene, at about 13:00 - 48 hours after our entry - again at Malelane gate. On our drive we saw even more rhino:

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These guys were not open for any interviews - they were very busy hiding their faces. Coming to think of it - they do look dressed like a lot of jailbirds... :hmz:

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And a lone buffalo in one of the riverbeds:

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In our last hours - we also managed to get our last suspects rounded up. There were many reports of these guys being in the area, but they evaded us untill the end of our investigation... It is a gang calling themselves "The Dogs"...

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They were quite far in the bush - but we managed to ID them and get one or two mugshots...

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Even though the photo doesn't show it very well - this is actually some evidence I am submitting to show that there will soon be even more of these dogs around... :whistle:

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A surveilance unit tracking "The Dogs" were on site - and we decided to leave this group of suspects in their capable hands.

My last picture from the scene. A tabloid bird of note! Have seen this guy flying from ear to ear spreading gossip before! :slap:

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To be followed by a summary of our 48 hours on the scene...


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 Post subject: Re: The First 48...
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:35 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Conclusion: 48 Hours in Berg-en-Dal, KNP

"For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called. Their chance of solving a murder is cut in half if they don't get a lead within the first 48 hours."

Luckily, being an "investigator" in Kruger, is not completely like being a homicide detective. The more time you spend in the bush - the more you will find. But if you are lucky - 48 hours may be enough to find some of the most precious sightings! If your question is whether it is worth the drive to go to KNP for 48 hours - the answer is most definitely yes. Why?

Let me remind you of some of the suspects...

Ms Panthera Pardus:

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And her brother:

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Mufasa:

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...and his lady:

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Scar - another godfather of the Malelane Mafia:

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The "Dogs" Gang:

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And then on one trip of 48 hours - we saw in excess of 30 individual rhinos (!!!) including a blackie...

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And many other small creatures that just make Kruger Kruger:

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The conclusion to my investigation is that 48 hours is enough. That KNP is still a magical place. That the efforts against rhino poaching is alive and well and saving some of our precious rhinos.

Thank you all for following this investigation with me, contributing to this report and enjoying it with me!Untill my next investigation in June (Satara) - keep well and God Bless! :D


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