Tatenda, Carla and Lisa Marie's milk supplies were replenished last week thanks to a donation of another 150kg of skimmed milk powder from the Clover Milk Company in South Africa and 100kg from www.safaritalk.net member, Bugs van Heerden of South Africa. Linda Honegger very kindly came to our rescue once again with the Clover donation by arranging transport and paying for the documentation for the milk to be imported into Zimbabwe. The ZCTF paid the import duty of 726 million Zimbabwe dollars. In addition to his donation of milk powder, Bugs also paid for the transportation of the milk to Zimbabwe as well as the import duty. We are very grateful to the Clover Milk Company, Bugs van Heerden and Linda Honegger for going to so much expense and trouble to help feed Zimbabwe's orphaned rhinos. Thanks also to Silvana Olivo of Italy who donated a box full of teats and Lorraine Graham of Australia who donated bottles and teats. We would like to also express our appreciation to Barbara Bowman, Brian Gaisford and Helen & John Buckle for their donations of money. There are a lot of hidden expenses involved in delivering the milk such as fuel, duty, clearing costs etc. and it is thanks to these donors that we are able to do it. We were also able to buy 10 bottles of horse fly repellent which cost ZWD400 million.
Bugs van Heerden's donation of milk arrived in Harare on Saturday the 8th March and we went to Imire to deliver it the following day. When we arrived at the Travers' house, there was no sign of Tatenda as he was out in the bush browsing.
We went out onto the front verandah where we met the newest edition to the Travers family - a tiny little week old hyena. Nobody is sure why but male hyenas sometimes eat their babies. One of the Imire hyenas gave birth to 2 babies and the father ate one of them so the Travers decided to rescue the surviving one before the father went back for seconds. My grand daughter, Kylie was delighted to meet the baby. The Imire African game guide, Morris, asked John Travers what the little hyena's name was and John replied "Well, we haven't thought of a name yet but we can call him Morris if you like." Morris didn't seem to know whether to take this as a compliment or not but I have a feeling the name might stick.
We hadn't been there very long when Tatenda graced us with his presence. He suddenly appeared in the doorway leading from the lounge to the front verandah after having first walked through Judy's house to get there. We were amazed at how much he has grown since he's been drinking the Clover milk.
Tatenda's best friend since birth, the little warthog Hogwash, is no longer such a "little" warthog. I never thought I would ever think of a warthog as a particularly attractive animal, but Hogwash is a magnificent specimen. He was lying on the couch on the verandah when we arrived and he still sleeps in Judy's bedroom at night but his nose is a little bit out of joint now that "Morris" has arrived on the scene.
Judy had a very frightening experience with Tatenda recently. He was in the kitchen with her while she was preparing the dinner. She was peeling a pumpkin and unbeknown to her, Tatenda had eaten some of the pumpkin peels. He suddenly started coughing and at first, Judy thought nothing of it but she became concerned when the coughing grew more violent. Then without warning, he started charging around the kitchen and Judy realized he was choking. She finally succeeded in shoving her hand down his throat to dislodge the pumpkin peel. This was no mean feat because Tatenda is not small any more - he probably weighs in excess of 250 pounds and it is one thing to shove your hand down a black rhino's throat, but quite another to do it whilst he is charging you. I say "Judy for President".
Pumpkin peels notwithstanding, Tatenda has very expensive taste in food. Much to Judy's chagrin, he has acquired a taste for her lovely palm trees.
OFFLOADING THE MILK
CARLA AND LISA MARIE
The Clover Milk arrived in Bulawayo on Thursday 6th March. Carla and Lisa Marie's supplies were running very low so I drove to Bulawayo to collect it the same day and then went straight through to Buffalo Range to deliver 125kg to Janey Style who is doing such a great job with the 2 rhino. Since the last time I was there, Janey has increased the size of the enclosure holding the rhino so when I arrived, Carla and Lisa Marie were nowhere to be seen as they now have a much bigger area of natural bush to wander around in. It is not easy to find them because they are very good at hiding in the thick bush. I had no intention of driving such a long way without seeing them so I walked through the bush calling them.
I walked for a few hundred metres before I heard a rustling sound and they came out to greet me. I was lucky enough this time to be able to watch them being fed.
As usual, they were very interested in their milk donation. We donated 10 bottles of horse fly repellent to them because the horse flies deliver a painful bite and draw spots of blood all over their bodies. Lisa Marie is still not able to put all her weight on her leg that she almost lost due to a wire snare. It was a terrible wound and will take a long time to heal properly.
Carla and Lisa Marie seem to be soul mates and do everything together. I don't believe they would survive if they were split up. Even though they are wild animals, they seem to know that they owe their lives to Janey Style.
Thank you so much to all the wonderful people who are helping us to feed these magnificent endangered animals. We would never be able to do it without you.
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Tel: 263 4 336710
Fax/Tel: 263 4 339065
Mobile: 263 11 603 213