During a trip to Namibia I was lucky enough to visit the Bushblok factory and meet some of the guys and girls who work there. I was shown around by Alfred Hendricks (pictured right). Alfred has been part of the team for a number of years and has worked his way up from harvesting Acacia to factory foreman.
Bushblok is project set up by the CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) in Namibia, the primary goal being to reduce thorny bushes in Cheetah habitat. We should all be aware that the Cheetah is an endangered species but the Bushblok project highlights a lesser known issue that Cheetah face. Cheetah are reliant on their excellent eyesight and speed but larger bush density means they can have less space to get up to speed when hunting. More importantly a scratch to the eye from an Acacia thorn can blind the animal instantly.
As a side note I picked up a flat tyre on my hire car from a piece of Acacia branch the plant is like steel, solid with little give and thorns that are 4-5 inches in length.
Acacia although native is an invasive species and in Namibia as with many other parts of Africa the wildlife that would naturally keep these plants in check are increasingly being forced into reserves. So the Bushblok was started to tackle the issue, essentially a team is constantly working in the field chopping down and chipping bush. These chippings are then either sold as is, or sent to the factory where it is compressed into fuel logs.
So all in all a great idea and project. I had been out in the field with the team that was cutting bush but all the images I took where backed up to a hard drive that failed. I lost a lot of work to that tech issue, I think humidity was the cause.
If you want to know more about Bushblok and the CCF here are there links.