Yesterday we released Piggy Piggy back into the wild.
Needless to say, spirits have been rather low around the camp today. Our baby warthog Piggy was set free into the wild yesterday. We have been on the edge of our seats waiting for her to try and sneak into the office, or jump on the couch to play with Nikita. We then realise that she is not around any more!
After coming to DAKTARI nearly seven months ago in a very frail state of health, Piggy grew up around the camp into a big and healthy warthog. She was sometimes naughty and liked to eat the food of the other animals, as well as occasionally going into volunteer's rooms to roam around for more food. But beyond her sometimes annoying territorial behaviour on the couch, Piggy touched us all both physically and emotionally.
She is now big enough to go back into the bush and fend for herself. Although yesterday was a very sad day because of having to let go of her, Piggy's release is something to celebrate as she is going back to where she should be!
Goodbye Piggy! We hope to see her soon with her new family of warthogs!
To ensure the continuity of our project to take care of wildlife, support us here!
We recently rescued a civet!
As you may know from following us on social media, earlier this week we rescued a civet from a nearby farm. She was badly hurt and malnourished so we quickly took her to the vet, where it was discovered that she had been hit by a car a few weeks ago. This had damaged her front right leg and her hips, leaving her with a severe limp. Later that evening she came to the farm, where she is slowly but surely recovering ever since. Following the suggestions of our friends on social media, and the appearance of the animal, we have decided to name her Zorro!
Our new civet is adapting to her new life at DAKTARI. It is not always something good when a wild animal comes into the camp, but seeing the poor state it was in when it first got here, it was evident that it would not have survived in the wild. She is eating well and is getting more and more comfortable with wondering around at night!
To give a little more background to Zorro, here are a few facts on Civets.
Despite their cat-like appearance and behaviours, the African Civets are not felines at all but are in fact, more closely related to other small carnivores like Mongooses. The facial features of the animal resemble the racoon, with the characteristic black band around the eyes. It is most well known for the musk that it secretes to mark it's territory (called Civetone), which has been used in the manufacturing of perfumes for centuries. Moreover, it is a solitary animal with a nocturnal nature, coming out under the cover of night to hunt.
To support Zorro as well as the rest of the animals at the farm, donate here!
We released a new porcupine on our farm!
Earlier this week we released an adult cape porcupine which we picked up from a nearby farmer! Another successful story which reflects in some way the impact that we are trying to make in the community. Through the education which we give the children, we hope that they will be inspired to make a difference in their communities by sharing what they have learned. It is very encouraging for our work to know that instead of choosing the easy way and killing the porcupine which was damaging his crops, we were called to take it to our farm.
It can now live in the wild and maybe even join the large group of porcupines living at the DAKTARI farm!
To continue our efforts to provide animals with the best care in order to make releases like this possible, help us by donating to our campaign here!
We released a Large spotted Genet at Leopard Rock!
It is always a mix of emotions when an animal is released back into the wild. Although not always a good thing, an emotional link is made with every animal that comes through DAKTARI, so seeing it go brings a tinge of sadness. On the other hand, returning it into its natural habitat is something which brings joy as it is going back where it was always meant to be!
This large spotted genet came from Moholoholo Rehab Centre about a month ago, and we are thrilled to be able to set it free again now that it has grown bigger and strong enough to survive in the wild. As an animal sanctuary, DAKTARI's Wildlife Orphanage does not often do releases so being able to do this on our farm is something which we take pride in. Due to the nature of the animal and the stress that transporting it brings on its own, we decided to do this aside from the children to prevent any unfortunate incidents. As it is nocturnal, we sometimes forget that these are wild animals who can and will bite!
To continue our efforts to provide our animals with the best care in order to make releases like this possible, help us by donating to our campaign here!
Although short, we hope that this video shows you the speed of this beautiful animal as well as how well it camouflages! We couldn't see it once it got into the bush!
Farewell little one!
General: The banded mongoose is a sturdy mongoose with a large head, small ears, short, muscular limbs and a long tail, almost as long as the rest of the body. The Banded Mongoose is not an endangered species, the development of agriculture in the continent has had a positive influence on their numbers as crops of the farmland serve as an extra food source.
Interesting fact: Mongoose are highly social, living in packs of about a dozen, typically up to about 30. Packs sleep together and forage in loose groups, each mongoose obtaining its own food. Groups live in home ranges which may be territories, as meetings between groups are aggressive. Each home range contains several dens which are used in rotation for a few days at a time.
Pilou, the little tiny girl
Personal history: Pilou has been found by a neighbour in her garden. After it was obvious she was abandoned by her family, she took this little tiny mongoose and call DAKTARI to take care of her. Pilou arrived in February 2015, at 3 weeks old. She looks very friendly and curious to discover the world. In a few months when she will be ready and strong enough, she will join Jackson and Leon, our two others Banded Mongooses.
Would you like to sponsor Pilou?
Please email email@example.com for more information, thank you!
Jackson and Leon
Personal history: A lady from Tzaneen found Jackson (picture on the left) in January 2015 alone in her garden. Quite friendly and tame, we think that this male Banded Mongoose was hand raised by humans and maybe escaped. He was very happy to find Leon and those two seem very good together.
Leon (picture on the right) arrived at DAKTARI a few years ago with a brain disease. Indeed, he just turns around in circles all the time. It was too risky to release him with the others 11 Banded Mongoose into the wild and Leon stayed at DAKTARI. Little by little, new lonely mongooses arrive in the camp and Leon appreciates the company! Soon, we will organise another rehabilitation project, with the long term goal being a release of them into the wild.
Would you like to sponsor Jackson and Leon?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, thank you!
Gone but never forgotten.
It started off like any other Monday at DAKTARI, the children going around on a tour, animals being fed and cleaned, optimism in the air for the new adventures of the week that lay ahead. However, what was discovered on the 19th of January 2015, at around 13:00, would rock DAKTARI to its core.
" We would often go visit Shiloweni to see what he was doing, often we would find him patrolling his territory or more recently, up in his tree, taking cover from the heat. Today we were surprised to find him lying in the sun. He would normally have his tail moving or at least move his ears if we approached closer. This time, nothing. We immediately knew that something was wrong" said the two DAKTARI volunteers, Daniel and Anne-Sophie, that found Shiloweni's stiff and lifeless body laying in the grass.
Our leopard was then taken to local veterinary doctor, Peter Rodgers, who has played such an important role in the leopards’ life. He confirmed what we had already suspected, it was a snake bite that had taken the life of this majestic African beast. Even the might and power of this exquisite creature was no match for the deadly venom of a slithering serpent. There was evidence of a fight around his body, with blood and scratch marks present, probably with either a Snouted Cobra or the infamous Black Mamba. Dr. Rodgers then notified us that there has been many snake bite incidents reported in the last weeks. This one, we felt the most.
After the dust had settled, it was time to lay Shiloweni to rest. His grave was dug in the African Bush, which is where he belongs. It was an honour and privilege to be there as Ian, Michele, staff, volunteers and children payed their respects to this fallen giant. It was if a close friend had passed, and that's really what Shiloweni was, someone close to our hearts, a respected member of the family whose presence and majesty was not possible to ignore. He had played such a vital role in inspiring and motivating children and volunteers alike, to stop, and to take notice of the utter preciousness that surrounds all of us. To acknowledge how fragile life can be. Stop, breath, and contemplate this for a moment.
But with every end comes new beginnings, with every heart ache comes hope. Without a doubt, from the rubble of our broken hearts, something fresh and new will emerge from this tragic story.
Shiloweni encapsulated the spirit of what DAKTARI is about, his spirit will live on forever. This evening as the red sunsets, no matter where you find yourself in the world, you can still hear his mighty roar in your hearts.
General: The warthog is part of the pig family and lives in the African savannahs. They are recognised by the tusks (canine teeth), used for digging and defence. They are omnivores and adapt to all diets. Most common predators are lions, leopards, crocodiles and hyenas. Warthog are a social species; females live in groups with their youngsters, but males leave the group once reached the adult age. Unfortunately warthogs are poached for their tusks, used in the ivory trade. The lifespan in the wild is of about 15 years, with the chance of doubling that in captivity.
Interesting Facts: Males are bigger in size than females, and can reach the 150 kg!! Just like elephants their tusks never stop growing. The upper pair of tusks can grow up to 25 cm. Warthogs have very poor vision, but they use their sense of smell and earing to alarm predators and danger.
Personal Story: Piggy-Piggy arrived at DAKTARI with her two sisters on the 15th of November 2014, when she was just 2 weeks old and weighted 600 gr. The trio was found roaming alone in a private reserve for few days, so the people concerned for them decided to take them and give them food, as the mother was probably not around anymore. We took great care of them, but unfortunately two of them were weaker and didn’t make it. Piggy-Piggy had showed a cheeky and sweet character since she arrived, and she brings joy to all the staff at DAKTARI. She loves being around volunteers and staff, and she comes when called, which made us decide to keep calling her Piggy-Piggy. She is almost two months old now, and we are looking forward to release her when she will be strong enough to survive by herself.
Would you like to sponsor Piggy Piggy, our Warthog?
Please email us at email@example.com