Pete Le Roux’s passion for the protection and preservation of Botswana’s wildlife is not only an amazing success story for Mashatu Game Reserve, but has also brought together wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world.
Some years ago, Pete was disturbed by the number of animals being poached near the Limpopo River, and devised a plan to provide an alternative water source. It was his hope that by luring the animals away from the area where so much senseless killing was taking place, the wildlife would have a chance to repopulate.
A large area was excavated, and using the remains of an old irrigation system left lying in the veld by abandoned cotton farming, Pete’s Pond came into being. Through Pete’s efforts, an unsuccessful agricultural land has been transformed into a viable wildlife preserve, and the reward for all his hard work is the return of the game to the region.
In 2005, a webcam was installed in a hide that had been built next to Pete’s Pond, broadcasting live online to the many fans and followers around the world.
“Pondies” – as regular viewers of Pete’s Pond call themselves – have become an African Wildlife cyber-subculture, tuning in daily to the continual streaming – commenting and following the action seen at the waterhole via social networking site, Facebook page Pete’s Pond on Mashatu.
The webcam at Pete’s Pond has since December 2008 operated all year round, in both the wet and the dry seasons. Viewers can watch fascinating and exciting wildlife scenarios unfolding on their computer screens via a satellite-to-website video camera, day and night. Even if there’s no action, listening to the genuine, real-time sounds of the African bush – and in particular its birds – is enchanting.
Volunteers operate the camera, or it is remotely controlled, zooming in on an activity so you’re guaranteed of seeing close-ups of animals and birds “live”, especially in the morning and late afternoon, when activity at the waterhole is at its peak.