Monday, January 26, 2009
Riding on the back of a horse through the bush is like a wild dream. Elephants or lions can be around each corner and especially wading through the water is so exciting. It's also 'just' a beautiful ride and a great way to enjoy the bush. Wild animals are not able to distinguish seperate objects and on the back of a horse we smell as horses. For them we are just 'horses with a weired lump on their back', instead of the most dangerous animal on this planet, walking straight on 2 legs: a human!! This makes it possible to observe wild animals more natural and more relaxed on a horseback. The trust each horse has in its rider is amazing: they are cool. They all got a long and intensive training to be able to take tourists into the bush, similar to the training police horses get. The biggest task for a horse is to stay still when dangerous animals like lions, elephants or buffalos are close by. Quite the opposite of their natural instinct: run!
Monday, January 12, 2009
This is Teddy, a baboon orphan. He lives in CARE, a rehabilitation centre for orphaned, injured, abused and traumatised chacma baboons(www.primatecare.org.za). Accidently he fell and could not use his right leg afterwards. Under general anaesthetics he was examined and X-rays showed that his right femur was broken. A cast was applied and must be in place for 6 weeks. In the moment he is happy, comfortable and tolerates the cast very well. In 3 weeks time we will repeat the X-rays to see whether the bone is healing.
When living in the bush it's always a big surprise which wonderful creatures you'll meet on your way back home. In the few months I have been here, I have regularly seen warthogs, a family of jackals, giraffes, zebras, wild dogs, scorpions (including the Palabuthus granulatus: the most dangerous scorpion in the world, but wow so beautiful), pythons, kudus, impalas, steenbok, water buck, bush babies, monitor lizards, owls and many more special animals on my way back home. Last week I witnessed something incredible! A brown house snake had just killed a gecko, but didn't seem to have any idea how to eat it. Are snake eyes also sometimes looking bigger than the stomach??? I waited for hours to see how the gecko would finally be eaten, but unfortunately the snake worked hard on its meal without any progression. I finally left because I got so hungry watching this late evening dinner that I speeded home to cook mine! The next morning both were gone, so it will always be a mistery who ate who that night.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
This wild black rhino calf was found without his mother in a private game reserve. He was in a very bad condition: emanciated, dehydrated, weak, anemic and covered in ticks. His mother probably left him because he was too weak to follow her. Without the protection of his mother and without any treatments he would for sure die within a few days. The prognosis of wild animals in such bad condition is always poorly, but of course everything was tried to try to safe the life of this wonderful animal. He was darted and all possible treatments to improve his condition were administred: IV fluids, antibiotics, anti-inflammation, anti-parasite and anti-tick treatments, painkillers and multi-vitamins. He also got a long-acting tranquilliser to reduce the stress in this completely wild and undoubtly traumatised baby.
The next day he was a little bit better, but still very weak. We repeated the treatment: IV fluids, antibiotics and painkilling. It's absolutely unforgetable how he reacted to Peters voice, copying an adult rhino calling for her baby: he was talking back! He also walked around, took a bath and ate some branches. The goat was a wonderful companion and even started to eat the ticks from the thick rhino skin. Unfortunately all treatments didn't help. His condition was too bad: very sadly the little rhino passed away the next night...