Today our students had an incredible opportunity; to join Christiaan the state vet on a sable capture, and get hands-on with the testing and blood sampling!
After a short drive to the reserve just outside Hoedspruit, we met the vet and the guides in charge of the operation, and were briefed on what was going to happen.
2 vehicles would follow the herd of sable antelope, and Hannes, who was in charge of darting the sable, would select a young male of his choice and direct the driver towards it.
Once he had a clear shot, he would then dart the sable, and the vehicles would follow it until it stopped and went down.
The students had a brilliant view of all the action; from the back of the bakkie and then approached the darted sable quietly from the ground.
Once the sable was loaded onto the vehicle, it was then taken back to camp and blood samples were taken to test for corridor disease and foot and mouth, while a skin test was taken to test for tuberculosis. The sable would then be exported to Botswana if all tests came back clear.
The students were able to take microchip data, blood samples, and even skin tests themselves! As well as getting close to such a beautiful antelope.
It was a very interesting, educational and rare opportunity, and thanks go out to everyone who helped make it happen!