N/a’ankuse, week two on the wildlife sanctuary
My second week at the wildlife sanctuary I started to get an understanding of what it’s really like there. Saturday was the social night – sushi making at the lodge, which my group won second prize at! Sunday’s are a day where you either do morning or afternoon food prep, eat a main meal for lunch, followed by desert and relax the rest of the day, before sandwiches for dinner.
Monday kicked off with two of the people in my group away for three days, meaning I wasn’t bossed around, but myself and one other girl had twice as much to do. To top it off… after a day of enclosure cleaning last Friday, I got to do it all over again on Monday. Normally your activities change day-to-day, but the groups had been reduced from 6 to 5 which somehow meant I got to do another day of picking up poo, leftovers and cleaning waterholes in the stinking hot sun. On the up side only having two people meant we both got to throw a lot of meat to the animals in carnivore feed later that day.
Tuesday rolled around and it was a day of big baby baboons walk with one super friendly cuddly one, then junior baboons walk. The juniors were so incredibly boring. That is two hours of my life I’ll never get back. You’re not meant to touch then – not that you’d want to, as they are two or three times the size of the big babies. They just roam around for food while we sit, without any jewellery, watch, book, water or anything in the heat waiting for the two hours to pass. Even the bushmen that lead the walk fell asleep!
That afternoon, guess what? Enclosure cleaning again! This time we were out in the large 5 cheetah enclosure since they were away for filming, picking up their poo and bones for a few hours in the boiling hot sun. But that wasn’t the end, we then got to go into Jamu’s (cheetah) enclosure while he was eating his meal to pick up poo and bones there too. First time being so close to the cheetah without anything but a stick and an organiser for protection. Jamu left us well alone though.
Wednesday was going to be a good day. It would be the first day I didn’t have to do enclosure cleaning in what felt like ages! It kicked off with research finding snakes (and quietly shitting myself). We did get to see one of the organisers put a tracking device on a puffadder snake though.
Next up was the baby baboons. These guys and girls are super cute. Little ones that just climb all over you as you walk and then try groom you when you sit down. One in particular – Shelia – was incredibly tough with her grooming. To the point that you’re almost crying in pain as she pulls at the roots of your hair!
To end Wednesday was ‘Animal Time’ which was again pretty darn boring. You sit in an enclosure with a few wild cat kittens, a mongoose, a rockdosse, rabbits and a vulture who just wants to terrorise everything and everyone. After an hour and a half of sitting on a rock bored stiff, we ventured into the cheetah cub enclosure, where they were being fed. These little guys play football in the morning, but come afternoon they eat and hide and sleep. So ‘Animal Time’ wasn’t quite as cool as I thought it would be. To end the day we helped with food prep again, but this meant getting introduced to the cute baby Oryx. Only 3 weeks old, it looks a mix between a deer and calf with crying eyes because of its markings.
Come Thursday my week went downhill – after one okay day. It started with the two girls in my group returning and taking over feeding the animals in food prep. While they feed the lambs I was ‘told’ to get the big male goat out of the pen. How the heck do you do that when its massive? Well I had no idea. I struggled and struggled to the point that the goat’s big horns cut my arm in a few places. Finally a bushman came along and helped me. Less me said I wasn’t entirely happy after that. I didn’t really get to feed any animals that day (except for the lambs at lunchtime when the others were busy), just prepare food and come along for the walk where the others fed the animals.
Thursday night was my turn to babysit Violet, a one year old baby baboon… stay tuned for that and my final ‘wish’ day.