We’ve had a busy and exciting few weeks here at the Centre (with a long weekend thrown in for good measure), which is why we’ve been a little slow with our updates. A number of schools came to visit, we celebrated the opening of our new Community Art Gallery, and we waved goodbye to our July/August intake of students. We also bid a sad farewell to our receptionist, Zena Buys. We wish her everything of the best in her future endeavours. Gone but not forgotten Zena!Â Temperatures have been mild during the past couple of weeks, but a cold front arrived over the weekend to remind us that winter is not quite over. Still, it’s hard to believe the season is almost over and spring is just around the corner.
Our six Picasso cubs are now living at the Centre’s creche and thoroughly enjoying the attention of the visitors, who routinely fall in love with these mischievous bundles of fluff. We’ve had to put coloured collars on the four month old cubs in order to differentiate between them, as they come from two different litters. They are equally paired up in terms of gender however, with three females and three males.Â We took some photographs of the little one after it rained last Sunday. Us humans have a lot to say regarding the weather, so we thought it was high time that we asked the animals their opinion on the subject. Needless to say we received some entertaining responses from them. Click here to see their comments.
Our very own monkey-cheetah
We recently discovered that something suspect has managed to creep into our cheetah gene pool. As a result we now have an animal that appears to be equal parts cheetah and monkey. This amusing photo of one of our cheetah cubs gave us the distinct impression that it was a funny little monkey masquerading in a cheetah’s body. Have a look and let us know if you agree.
Jock the newly adopted Wild dog puppy
At long last, Jock, our darling Wild dog puppy, has been adopted. Erhardt Mostert visited HESC with his family about three months ago. Erhardt loves Wild dogs so much that he decided he just had to do something to validate this passion. After enquiring about ourÂ Wild Dog Adoption Program, Erhardt then returned to the Centre recently to decide exactly which dog to adopt. You can just imagine his immense excitement when he heard there was a puppy available for adoption. Watching our Wild dogs feeding – with the alpha pair and the little puppy tucking in first – sealed the deal for young Erhardt. There and then he decided to adopt this puppy and call it Jock. A fitting name indeed for such an adorable puppy.
The exhausted Lizard buzzard
Our curator, Christo, discovered a Lizard buzzard in Tristan’s (king cheetah) camp. The bird was clearly exhausted so Christo decided to put him in the animal hospital to recover. After a couple of days his eyes had only opened slightly, but he has since made a remarkable recovery. His eyes are now wide open and he’s even been stretching his wings. We’ll keep him for a little while longer, just to make absolutely sure that he’s fine, and then we’ll release him back into the wild.
Lizard buzzards are intra-African migrants. This means that they breed elsewhere in Africa (in this case Tanzania) and then make their way down to South Africa during our spring/summer, which is their non-breeding season. We think this buzzard left home a little too early, hence his subsequent exhaustion. Flying in the cold is obviously much harder work than we realise.
The injured leopard is feeling a little better
The leopard we took in some time ago is recovering very well. He’s regained his appetite and is literally ploughing his way through everything we feed him. He’s also a lot more relaxed than he was when he first arrived, and even ventures out into the open on occasion. If he keeps improving at this rate we’ll be releasing him within the next few weeks. Click here to see more pics of him.
A large number of school children have walked through our gates over the past couple of weeks. We welcomed a total of 214 learners from Stanger Manor secondary, Drakensig pre-primary, and Louis Trichardt primary school. This number also includes the 31 students that arrived with a rotary group. It was really wonderful to have the youngsters visit again, as they tend to stay indoors during winter. Not that we blame them though, touring the Centre in an open vehicle when it’s cold isn’t exactly fun.
KOOS TALKS SUVIVAL
Koos ponders the art of bush survival
How to find your way if you get lost in the bush
Look for the tip of a termite mound. Due to the earth’s rotation, the sun tends to warm the northern part of the mound more. Due to its weight, the wetter mud on the southern end will tip towards the northern side.
With the aid of your wristwatch (so long as it’s not digital) you’ll be able to figure out where you are. First point the “12” on your watch directly at the sun. Next find the middle point between the “12” and the hour hand. This will tell you where north is. In both cases, providing you know what direction “home” is, you’ll know where to go!