Bono's Adventure - Der Supertrick

Bono, Jinny and Otto live under the hot African sun. One morning, a stranger comes to the desert. The three friends follow him and find they have embarked on quite an adventure …
Read this exciting story through which we learn about oryx antelopes, life in the desert and how science works.

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THE MAGIC TRICK is based on a real-life research project – the Oryx Project – conducted by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW, Berlin) and its Namibian partners (The University of Namibia [UNAM], The Department of Biological Sciences, Windhoek; Torra Community-Based Conservancy Office, Kunene region; Wilderness Safaris Namibia, Windhoek) from 2010 to 2012 in the Kunene region of Namibia.

The main characters in this story – Bono the hare, Jinny the mouse and Otto the bat – are representative of wildlife species – hares, mice, bats – that are found all over the world except in the Antarctic and can thus tell stories from across the globe. In the Kunene region of Namibia, Bono would be a scrub hare (Lepus saxatilis), Jinny a pygmy rock mouse (Petromyscus collinus), and Otto a Namib long-eared bat (Laephotis namibensis).

The Kunene region is located in southern Africa in the far north-west of Namibia. The Kunene River – Namibia's only perennial river – crosses the extremely sparsely vegetated desert. It thus creates an oasis for wildlife and plants amidst the mountain ranges and the extreme aridity of the desert.

The Oryx Project investigated how two antelope species – oryx (Oryx gazella gazella) and springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) – survive as herbivores under the extreme climatic conditions of the desert: it found that whereas the springbok fed on all the available plants during periods of drought, the oryx ate only a few species, including the poisonous Damara milk-bush.

More information on the project is available at

This story is based on the following publication:
Lehmann D, Mfune JKE, Gewers E, Cloete J, Brain C, Voigt CC (2013) Dietary Plasticity of Generalist and Specialist Ungulates in the Namibian Desert: A Stable Isotopes Approach. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72190. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072190

Bono's Adventure: THE MAGIC TRICK – How oryx antelopes survive in the desert
Idea, concept and story by Kathleen Röllig
Illustrations by Steffen Gumpert
Translated into English by Steffen Walter and Armorel Young
Project management: Kathleen Röllig, Miriam Brandt, Heribert Hofer
Scientific advice: David Lehmann, John KE Mfune, Christian Voigt