We’ve had a busy couple of weeks here at the Centre, but we’ve also had fun in equal measure, so it’s all good. Winter still has us in its chilly clutches and doesn’t look set to let go anytime soon. That said, we’re all doing our best to soldier on as best we can beneath the many layers we don each morning in a bid to stay warm. Roll on September!
Koos, our Stoep Supervisor and resident demagogue, approached us recently with a wonderfully innovative idea. He says he’d love to share some of the knowledge he’s gleaned over the years while holding court outside our Deli. And you can take it from us, he’s one wise old bird. His main areas of expertise are thievingÂ squirrels, cheeky zebras and all manner of cheetahs. He also has a passion for the environment and mother nature, and is constantly coming up with ingenious ways for us to be more “eco-friendly”. If you have a specific question for Koos please email us. We’ll also include one or two nuggets of useful information at the end of our weekly updates.
HESC 2011 Intern Student – Simon Mnisi
The US Friends of HESC allocated $5000 of their total funds raised towards education. The only stipulation being that the recipient be equipped with the necessary skills to qualify for a career in conservation. We’re pleased to announce that the venture has proved to be a huge success, and Innocent Sibuyi – last year’s sponsored student – has decided to continue his studies in the tourism industry.
We were then faced with finding a replacement to fill Innocent’s rather hefty shoes.
Over the course of eight weeks we invited four different students to spend some time at the Centre. Christo Schreiber allocated them eachÂ with a set of tasks and then left them alone for the day to see how they faired.
Of the four, Simon was the one that surprised Christo the most.
He was always on time, performed all his tasks to perfection, and never needed checking up on. Simon also showed a keen interest in everything, and even though he is quite shy he wasn’t afraid to use his initiative. Because he didn’t have a cell phone he would write a note to say where he was going next, and if he’d finished his own work he’d invariably head to the butchery to help Elias wash crates and sort meat. The opposite of a clock-watcher, this eager beaver had to be reminded to take a break for lunch. With this kind of work ethic already instilled in him, Simon was the obvious choice for the 2011 internship.
Lana’s new cubs
Lana was born at the Centre in 2007. She was the only female in a litter of three cubs, and recently gave birth to some cubs of her own. The little ones arrived on Sunday the 10thÂ of July 2011, and we’re pleased to announce that they are all fighting fit, strong and healthy. Even though Lana is a first time mother, she is taking very good care of her babies, feeding them and keeping them warm. It’s wonderful to have the pitter patter of little paws in our nursery again, as it’s been very quiet in there since the teenagers moved to the bigger camp. We’ll keep you updated on our the young family is doing.
UPDATE FROM THE VET
Dr Peter Rogers with the injured leopard lying on the Bear Hugger machine
A few weeks ago we took in an injured leopard that came to us via the Leopard Conservation Project. The unfortunate animal had been caught in a snare around its waist. When he arrived at HESC he was in a lot of pain and he refused to eat. We persevered with our unhappy patient however, and eventually discovered that he really enjoyed chicken. But even though he was eating it was clear that something was still amiss.
A visit to Dr Peter Rodgers revealed that the snare had cut into his skin and left a big opening on his underbelly. The leopard was immediately sedated so that we could clean the wound and stitch him up. In these situations we normally struggle to keep the animals warm – even more so in winter – as they can’t regulate their own body temperature while under anaesthetic. But thanks to Mark Minter and the wonderful people at Augustine Medical South Africa this is no longer an issue as they very kindly donated a Bair Hugger machine to the Centre. Having this incredible machine on hand really made the process so much easier as we didn’t have to continually fill up hot water bottles to keep the leopard’s temperature stable. This meant we could give all our full attention to the patient, who is now recovering in the clinic and looking decidedly better than when he arrived.
Heather is super enthusiastic about HESC and is going out of her way to get more sponsors for us. Khula was on top form and thoroughly enjoyed all the attention he received from Heather and her family. Heather’s daughter is currently studying photography and took some beautiful black and white shots of the handsome cat while they were there.
SAVE WATER: Don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth.
Squirrels should be watched closely at all times as they are prone to helping themselves to other people’s food.