Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012: Greetings from Khulula Wild Care in South Africa

Greetings All,
We are settling into life in South Africa. After spending a few days with our friends Steve and Jayne outside of Johannesburg, we made an impromptu visit to Pilensberg National Park to the north. As it is the end of the rainy season, the grass is tall making wildlife viewing a bit more challenging. We did have some very good sightings of White Rhinos, a herd of 5 very close! This was our first experience of driving on our own in a game park. It's a bit scary encountering elephants on the road in a Corolla (maybe not quite as scary as driving in Joburg during rush hour). At one point we encountered an elephant road block and had to make a detour. We also saw our first Brown Hyena on a night drive. We said good bye to Steve and Jayne (for now) and headed east towards Nelsbrit. We are now at Khulula Wild Care, a wildlife rehab center where we weill spend the next 2 weeks. We are staying in the "Castle", a funky building built in 1960 by a man who was convinced a nuclear war was imminent. The castle is made of cement and even has a decontamination tunnel with a shower if you get exposed to radiation or chemicals. Now it is owned by a South African woman named Petronel and her husband who are running the wildlife rehab project. For the next 2 weeks we will be caring for White Lion cubs (there are less than 500 White lions in the world), 3 young lions, 3 Servals. 3 Caracals, 3 "baby" white rhinos, a baby eland, owls, a baby baboon, and a host of other animals. Today was our first full day on the project and we spent from 6AM to 6PM caring for the animals. Marc, Sylvia a Dutch women who has been on the project for a week and I are in charge of the cats for the week. I must admit it's intimidating getting in a cage with 3 young lions. We feed them mostly chicken which we have to cut up for the cubs, it's the messy part of the job. It's getting late here and we have to be up early to feed the cubs so I'll say goodbye for now. I'll try and send some photos when we get a free minute. We hope all is well back home.
Marc and Peggy