Oct 6, 2010

Don't Miss Your Chance To Make A Difference

On Monday we released the female leopard, which had been responsible for killing at least 36 ostriches, onto a nearby game reserve, making a little bit more space in our rather full quarantine section. Thinking that we could air it out, we got the students in to clean.

However, this was not to last for very long as... the very next day we had to go and collect another patient who looks like she will be in  there for quite some time.
We received a call about a terrible snaring massacre that resulted in many animals dying a most painful and slow death. There was one survivor that had been found fighting to stay alive but using her very last reserves...
...A lioness.

She had been snared around the head with the wire cutting through her mouth breaking off teeth and leaving her with a gaping grin that exposed gums. She has gashes in the back of her neck in which a person could fit their hand. Strewn around her were the carcasses of 5 other lions, a hyena, two zebras, one wildebeest, three impala and a vulture. On closer investigation it was noted that there were several teeth missing from some of the lions and one had had its paws cut off... a sure sign that these animals had been killed so mercilessly for the sole reason of traditional “muthi” (medicine). The local anti-poaching unit were called to scout the area and pulled out more than 200 snares!

When animals are caught in a snare they are forced to suffer extreme pain as they rip flesh and muscle in their manic attempts to escape. As they work through their energy supplies they become weak. Not being able to eat or drink takes a toll on their bodies too until the life begins to seep out of them and sometimes, days later, they finally die.

She was treated immediately at another venue and once she was relatively stable Brian was called and asked if he would take further care of her. Without a second thought Brian jumped into the vehicle and off he went to collect our newest patient.

Sadly, this lioness has a long way to go, at least 3 months, before she will be even close to fully healed. At the moment she is very nervous about her new surroundings and will obviously be in much pain and discomfort. We now face the very large challenge of raising funds to cover what will soon be an astronomical vet bill! We expect it to reach and exceed R40,000.00!
If you are interested in helping us in our endeavour to help make a difference to an animal that suffered cruelly at the hand of people then please do not hesitate to contact us at the following email address: moholorehab@wol.co.za
Any donation no matter how small will help make a difference and will be greatly appreciated!

Oct 4, 2010

A second chance and a step towards freedom.

In life we are not all lucky enough to receive a second chance, a chance to prove that we can do right. For our wildlife these chances are fewer and further between. They do not have the ability to speak out to defend their actions and many times they are lumped together and labeled as ruthless dangerous killers who are a threat to human well being. In their quest to survive they are forced closer and closer to human habitation and some have no other choice than to partake in livelihood of people. Many such animals are shot or sentenced to a slow and painful death for their perseverance in the face of a shrinking habitat and will never be afforded that illusive second chance. But today I am here to tell you about a mesmerizing creature that was lucky enough to beat the odds.

 Previously we posted a story about a female leopard with two cubs that discovered ostriches were easy prey (and a tasty meal to boot!) After she had killed 36 ostriches the farmer had had enough and if we were not able to remove the leopards from his farm he was going to take drastic steps in order to save his livestock. We were successful in our endeavours and brought the leopards to the rehab center where we could care for them until we were able to find a suitable place to release them. During the process of capturing the leopards, the cubs had been separated from their mother and so we were not able to house them with her as she will no longer recognise them as her own. They will stay at the center until they are older and stronger and able to fend for themselves in the wild. The mother however is perfectly healthy and after much phoning around Brian managed to find a place to relocate her to in a game reserve in the nearby area which wanted to increase their leopard population.

On hearing this wonderful news, a R15, 000.00 GPS collar was ordered for the female leopard. This will allow us to track her movements by downloading her positions onto the computer. We can see where she wonders to and if she has stayed in one spot for a day or two then we can deduce that she has made a kill. Fantastic technology, but extremely costly.

Once the collar was checked and fitted, the female was placed in a crate and the students piled into another vehicle so they could witness this moment and say farewell to this fearsome rosetted creature that they had helped care for.

When we had reached our destination, which is located a good hundred kilometers or more from her original killing grounds, we off-loaded the crate and once everyone was clustered in a safe spot Brian opened the hatch. Still wobbly from the sedative, she took her first tentative steps towards freedom, cautiously at first and then sensing there was no harm she ventured forth to investigate her new home.

 We can only hope that she will not return to her old ways and that she will stay within the safe confines of the game reserve.

Deadlock Battles

What would you do if everything you depended on was threatened by a single element? An element which you had the power to remove? Would you not take any steps necessary to defend that which allows you to survive?

For many people in this country, livestock is a life-giving source. They rely on this livestock for food and nutrition, income and status. Most of these people will do anything in their power to protect their livelihood.  Wouldn’t you?

Often the threat comes in the form of a four-legged predator, hungry or looking for an easy meal. Sadly these wild “beasts” hunting grounds are being restricted like a net being drawn closed. These creatures are now being forced from the lands that they once used to roam and hunt upon freely by humans’ insatiable need to expand, conquer and devour.

Our mission is to educate people such as this that there is another effective solution and that we can help them in their plight whilst saving an animal’s life. Let me tell you about two such stories...

Ostrich Killer:  After losing a staggering 36 ostrich to a leopard, a farmer, in extreme frustration, set a cage trap in order to lure in the ruthless hunter. However, the animal that stalked in to claim the bait was a different ‘bothersome’ predator – a brown hyena. The farmer solved that problem himself by shooting the hyena as to him this was the only solution. He then reset the trap cage in the hopes of catching the leopard. On inspection the farmer realised that he had indeed caught a leopard but it was not the one that he had been hoping for. It was a young cub! “Aaahha”, he thought! ”This will do the trick!”  And so he decided to leave the cub in the cage in hopes of attracting the mother back to catch her in another trap he had set..  Brian heard about this 4 days later and immediately rushed over to see what was going on. The cub was still in the cage and was in a terrible state! Brian explained to the farmer in earnest that he would help him catch the problem leopard if only he would allow him to take the baby leopard away and try and save its life. The farmer agreed and Brian set traps in waiting.

We did not have to wait long for the farmer to call letting us know that there was something in one of our traps, it was another cub! (The brother to the female that we had previously rescue)  He was brought back to the rehab centre and the trap was reset once more. Finally! Not long after, we managed to capture the large female (the mother) that had been killing so many of the farmer’s animals to feed her growing family. She was brought back to the rehab and now we are looking for space to relocate her to. She would no longer accept her cubs and being only about 6-7 months of age we will need to keep them here until they are old enough and capable to fend for themselves in the wild world.

Cattle Slayer: Our second story takes place on a farm over 150km from the rehab. A local, black farmer by the name of Paul had had enough after 8 of his calves had been killed by resident Brown Hyenas. These cattle are his livelihood and his only source of income with which he can support his family.

Paul set up his own cage traps in order to catch the guilty culprits. Tempted by the smell of easy food, the Brown Hyena was lured in. One could reasonably understand if Paul took matters into his own hands but he did not and having heard about the Rehab and what Brian does, he contacted us to “Take this thing away from here!” Sensing the man’s frustration, Brian set off immediately. A very large female hyena pacing the trap cage is the sight that greeted him on arrival. Sadly the female had been heavily pregnant and had given birth to 4 cubs in the cage. As a result of stress and agitation she killed them and ate 2 of them. Brian could see that she was not in a good way, with a badly injured side and pouring blood from the uterus. On arrival at the rehab she was rushed to the clinic where we could examine and treat her. She was then placed on a course of heavy anti-biotics. That very next afternoon, Paul rang Brian. He had caught a second Brown Hyena and told Brian that he had better come and fetch it soon. Once again a round trip of over 300Kms was made in order to bring the Brown Hyena safely back to the rehab.

The officials feel that once these animals are released they will go straight back to their ways of killing livestock such as the ostrich that the leopard was taking to feed her cubs. We would like to prove that this will not happen if we release them far enough away!

After both such incidents our quarantine is full and we hope to release the animals in suitable places where their presence will be cherished rather than despised. We will keep you posted!