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   Above: Charismatic and on top of everyone’s ‘to-see’ list, Leopards are abundant in the Okavango and provide many thousands of people every year with exceptional wildlife encounters.
Right: One of the few mammals that are almost entirely unique to the Okavango are the semi aquatic Red Lechwe, an antelope that should not be taken for granted when seen out in this semi-desert environment.
Zooplankton: The major group of these minute living organisms is the Cladocerans, tiny crustaceans which form the essential foundation for the survival of the numerous fish species, and subsequent life down the chain in the Okavango. Protected by specially designed egg casings, millions of Cladoceran eggs wait patiently for water under the sands in seasonally dry floodplains. Upon its arrival they explode in a flurry of life. Minute and overlooked, zooplankton are a most important element of life in the Okavango.
Faeces: Animal droppings are just as important to this ecosystem as they were in their original form as food for the individual. Up to 700 kg
of droppings are estimated to fill as little as one hectare in the delta. Animal droppings therefore are responsible for an exceptional load of phosphorous which only becomes available when activated by floodwaters.
Combined, these factors unite to deliver what life needs not only to survive, but to thrive. The Okavango is in the heart of the vast arid Kalahari, known much more for its diversity of species than its abundance. However, with so many team players, each with a unique contribution, life is provided with vital components required for what we see on the surface, an abundant pyramid of energy on ancient soils.

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