On the second to last day of Alana’s and my holiday safari, we went to a place called the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre. It’s right outside of Kruger National Park. It’s run by… I don’t remember his name, but this really nice older guy. It’s a rehab. centre for harmed African wldlife and large birds (primarily vultures). It was one of the best experiences of the entire trip. They gave us a presentation/lecture when we first got there, showing us slides with pictures and giving us information on the rate at which wildlife land is being destroyed and turned into commercially used land. He gave us a detailed explanation of how, in the past century, African land has been divided nearly in half, in many countries significantly more than that, for wildlife versus commercial use. As that’s happening, wildlife is being forced onto smaller and smaller pieces of land. It was heartbreaking to hear the stories of these animals that are being shot, primarily by farmers and other landowners, for coming onto their land. The area around Kruger NP, especially, is a hotzone for these animals. If they get out of the enclosed park, which is 16% of South Africa, which sounds like a lot, but a century ago, tehse animals were free to roam nearly wherever in the country. Anyway, if they do get out of the park, they generally are shot. Leopards, cheetah, vultures, smaller animals – are all killed on a routine basis for looking for food. The rehab. centre has made a name for itself in the area and in the country and they’re trying to keep the word spreading so that when farmers find a leopard on their land, they’ll call the centre instead of shooting it. They also rescue animals that have been in other harmful and/or neglectful situations – one lion they have (the picture of a lion I have) j- had been used by a circus group, then neglected. It was found near dead, starving, and it no longer has teeth. Most of these animals will never be abl to be released into the wild again.

I’ll stop babbling about it, but I really fell in love with it. And if I ever happen to end up ridiculously wealthy and am looking for a cause, this will be mine.

A leopard. I was so excited to see it… it was the only one of the Big 5 we didn’t see at Kruger. He would jump (like a rockstar) and get his entire body up on the fence when being fed… I was so bummed I didn’t a picture of it.

This was the lion that was harmed by the circus. It broke my heart. They have to give him special food because he can’t chew. I kept thinking he was so adorable, as did a several of us, and the guide had to remind us that it’s not okay, not natural, that he can go in the lion’s area and pet him and hang out with him and the lion would be okay with it.

A close-up of the leopard. So gorgeous.

Wild Dogs. Not looking all too wild there 🙂

I don’t know if you can clearly see it here – but this little rock…formation…house…thing haha had all these adorable little otter/big gerbit/brownish fatter, smaller squirrel type fellows… haha I have no idea what they were,but they were cute.

and the cheetah sleeps tonight….

Honey Badger!! Okay, this is the single greatest animal story we heard all day. And these guys – were so my favorite. Honey Badgers, which, as you can see, kind of look like ferrets or something similar… and I thought they were utterly adorable. Well, they’re EVIL. Pure evil. And hilarious. They’re the most clever little animals (there were two of them, this was just the best close-up of one I have). They have become famous at Muholoholo for being able to escape out of EVERYTHING. The cage ting they’re in now has been modified probably a dozen times to correct all the ways that the Badgers have found to escape. They call one of them, and darnit, I’ll have to look up his name later to remember, but they call him the Great Escape Artist. He has become quite famous for it. Not only can they get out of anything (and they were trying the entire time we were there), but they’re also – back to the evil – EVIL. The guide told us that one of the times they escaped, they only found them again when they found… oh man, it was either a rhino or a buffalo – dead. That’s right – these little bitty cute things killed an animal that large. How do they do it? They castrate the animal they want to kill – rip off its testicles, and then the animal bleeds to death. Insane right?

…and this is me feeding a vulture. They’re REALLY heavy!

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  

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