Here at DAKTARI, we are always saving baby animals… some we find and some are brought to us. A few of the most common animals include; squirrels, bats, mongooses, bushbucks, klipspringers and bush babies. Bush babies are my personal favorite. Who wouldn’t love that little face with the big eyes?
On March 13th, one of our founders found yet another little bush baby sitting on a pipe outside one of our houses. She knows they are my favorite little animals and brought it to me to take care of. After 6 months, I am somewhat experienced at feeding and taking care of small, baby animals. So I went through the normal drill of collecting a zipped little soft carrier, stuffed animal, baby food in a needleless syringe and cotton. She was named Frieda and she was scared but ate some and then slept on my bed in her carrier. I should add that my room is the “bush baby” room in camp. Long established by our founders, two windows stay open year round so the bush babies can come in to eat a little snack and have safe refuge while birthing their young. So I am used to hearing them each night jump into my room and have a bit of yogurt that is put out daily for them as a treat and then usually bounce back out to wherever they spend the day sleeping. Once in a while, one of the “babies” we saved will even jump on my shoulder to say hi and then bounce off again.
All went well the next day. Even though we’re happy to rescue little ones, it is always sad that they have been separated from their real mommies. But, thankfully we are here because if not…nature is not kind to little orphans.
This is where the normal story takes a turn. Last night, after feeding and cuddling Frieda, I put her in her little carrier with the stuffed animal to keep her company. Several hours later, I feel a bush baby jump on the top of my bed frame (a usual occurrence) but then I felt something jump on to my mattress (NOT a normal occurrence)! It was more puzzling as the mosquito net was enclosing the bed and to get in took some effort (even for me at times). I quickly turned the light on to see a grown bush baby peeking in the carrier calling out to the little one inside. But…I didn’t know, was this a friendly call or was the adult being territorial? Of course, in the light of day it made sense that this was a bush baby that knew me, the room and that this was a safe place but in the middle of the night I wasn’t so sure. So I opened up the netting to swish the adult out so I could get to the yelling baby. I took Frieda out, and stood away from the bed to watch the adult jump back down to the bed and carrier…do a thorough search and look up at me holding the little one. I realized she was looking for “her” baby and had no intention of hurting her. I sat on the bed and the mommy came over and picked up Frieda by the scruff of her neck and jumped away to one of the hiding places in the room. It was so amazing and I was still in shock as I turned off the light and closed the nets and went back to sleep. I will miss little Frieda but am so pleased this story had such a happy ending!
– A story by Pat, our outreach manager