Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The pretty girl and the dung beetle

Looks can be deceiving.  You tend to think young pretty girls would only be interested in fashion, nightlife, tanning on the beach, spending time in the shops and hanging out with their friends. Yes, yes, I know I'm generalizing but I'm trying to get to a point so bare with me.  Late last year I hosted a travel blogger visit to Port Elizabeth and the surrounding area and the first blogger of the five to arrive was Rachel Lang, known online as Bush-bound Girl.  She wasn't quite what I was expecting, not that I know what I was expecting.  Rachel was the perfect travel companion a blogger can ask for.  She had endless enthusiasm and jumped at every opportunity to participate and try out things.  This made for great "experience" photos, plus the fact that she's a beautiful girl helped as well.  On our guided game drive in the Addo Elephant National Park our ranger stopped and picked up one of Addo's famous Flightless Dung Beetles.  Who immediately asked if she could hold it?  Nobody other than Bush-bound Girl.

The flightless dung beetle used to be found widespread in Southern Africa but these days is classified as a vulnerable species and only found in Addo Elephant National Park and a couple of other isolated spots.  The beetle is strictly dependent on a number of vertebrates (particularly elephant and buffalo) and when these animals were shot out at the end of the 1800's and beginning 1900's the poor dung beetle population took a huge knock.  These days things are slowly getting better and better for them with the increase and spreading of the elephant population in Addo and the surrounding reserves.  

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