DAKTARI’s response to COVID-19 outbreak
First of all, we hope that everyone is keeping well during this crisis, and our thoughts go out to those who have been impacted by the virus in any way.
At DAKTARI we have taken some measures at early stages to help prevent the spread of the virus:
– We are not taking kids onsite for our Environmental Education program since April 14th when the schools closed.
– The borders have been closed so there are no new volunteers coming in until further notice.
– The lockdown started on April 27th, initially for 3 weeks. It has then been extended until April 30th, and we strictly respect these measures by respecting social distancing, washing hands regularly and wearing masks when we do groceries shopping.
– We sent all the staff home for the lockdown period except our Animal Manager Johnson to run our Wildlife Orphanage.
RUNNING THE WILDLIFE ORPHANAGE
Together with the few people left at DAKTARI, Johnson takes care of the animals daily. They do the morning and afternoon “stabling”, which is feeding the animals and sweeping their enclosures. Big cleans of the enclosures are carried on as usual once per week. This is extremely important as this is when we disinfect fully the enclosures, check on the fences and gates and make sure the animals are safe and healthy.
These difficult times have a bright side: they allow us to have even more time for animal enrichment! Every day, we collect fresh branches and leaves to put in various enclosures, we stuff boxes with hay, worms and other treats to give to some animals, and we even made an Easter-themed enrichment! Animals are always very excited about it and they loved it.
On a sad note, one of our dassie called Big boy passed away last week. After being attacked and injured by other dassies, we took care of its injuries and put him in a seperate enclosure where he could recover. Unfortunately, despite Michele’s love and care, he did not survive and is now resting in peace in our animal cemetery.
– We are planning to release three squirrels that we handraised in the next days, as they are now big enough to live in the wild and to climb trees. We will miss them but we might still see them around the farm!
Despite Eco Club and Campaigning being on hold due to this crisis, we are still moving forward with our Outreach program in different ways:
- Lesson content: We are currently making sure that we are up to date with the latest guidelines to follow regarding human-wildlife conflict. We are also looking at ways to make the lessons more engaging whilst learning from the students and make sure that their voices are heard.
- Educational virtual games: We are currently looking for ways to keep in touch with our learners during the lockdown. We found a virtual game where the students would be in charge of a nature reserve and would have to do everything in their power to keep their animals safe from poachers. This is great game as it tackles the whole management of a reserve and would make them feel responsible for the animals.
- Checking on students: we have been in contact with our students in order to see how they are doing during these uncertain times. We found out that they are taking the lockdown very seriously but they are all looking forward for schools to re-open!
- Giving food parcels: We are also going out to the villages to deliver some food parcels to the people that need it the most. We are not encouraging any gathering of people which is why we are the ones going from house to house delivering the goods while keeping our distances with people. This is very important for us as are here to help support our community facing some very challenging times.
LIFE AT CAMP
We are taking the time without children at camp to upgrade some of the camp facilities at little to no cost, such as painting and decorating the chalets, building an aviary for birds of prey, doing some bush clearing… During this period, everyone left at DAKTARI, whether it is staff, volunteers or office people, is helping out to make sure animals are keeping well.
Despite this crisis, we are still hopeful that better times are coming and that we will overcome this crisis.
We miss the children, their smiles, energy and to see them interact with volunteers, and we are looking forward to come back to our routine soon!
The DAKTARI Family