I am asked quite often if and how we interfere with the welfare and lives of the animals we view on game drive. The simplest answer is no, we let nature to nature, but that is not always the case. Recently our large bull elephant got into somewhat of a tussle with a wandering neighbor bull. Subsequently his right tusk was broken. Now, elephants “in the wild” also fight, also break their tusks, and when nature is left to nature they may survive from such an injury or they may die a rather gruesome death from infection. Because our animals are in our wild, they are a part of our family, and are an investment of Kapama Private Game Reserve, when some thing like this occurs we step in.
Instead of letting this particular bull get a rather nasty infection in and around the broken shaft of his former tusk, and thus going crazy from pain and infection, we brought in a vet. We darted him and smoothed out the ragged edges so that infection would not occur. I was lucky enough to be a part of the darting along with two other rangers from River Lodge, two rangers from Main Lodge, Oom Paul from Camp Jabulani, and other Kapama personnel. We tracked and found him easily enough. The vet darted him using a mixture that is the equivalent of a dosage of morphine able to kill humans. He wandered for about 100 meters and then passed out. We checked his vitals. Supplied a stick to keep his trunk passage open, and made sure to poor generous amounts of water over his body, particularly his ears, so he stayed as cool and calm as possible.
The whole operation took about three hours. After which he was given an antidote to the sedative and as we sat silently watching, he rolled to his feet, looked around, and slowly meandered off. (One is want to muse if the bull was thinking, “what a strange dream I just had….”) Three nights later my guests and I watched him nonchalantly eating and walking, going about his normal elephant business, safe and healthy. It is not every day that we as rangers get to assist in such a fun, fantastic adventure and learning experience; it definately re-news your love of the bush!
Story by: Noelle Di Lorenzo- Kapama River Lodge Ranger
Rarely seen during the day the aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and specialized animals, and I was so lucky to see one for a second time on Kapama!!!
I was ecstatic…my guests too…after I told them what a rare mammal this is and i’m sure they couldn’t miss the excitement in my voice when I told them the facts of this
It resembles a pig in colour, spare bristle type hair, its long tubular snout and ears.
Heavy tail, muscular legs and well developed claws made for digging.
Main food source termites
An interesting fact is that the aardvark is one animal that appears to have benefited from the overstocking of farms with domestic stock. The trampling of the grass by the stock, makes the grass more available to termites on which aardvark feeds!
So, after this excellent sighting I drove home knowing that my guests are happy and once again I have seen one of nature’s great jewels!
By Jessica Dunne
Good day to you all !!!
I heard some incredible stories last night when the rangers returned from their drive.
We have a group of young adventurers at the lodge at the moment,who could not stop talking about the exciting and entertaining drive they had. It was great to see the expressions on their faces when talking about the big male lion and lioness which they had seen. It is great to see when you have such enthusiastic and happy guests who appreciate it all, from a rhino midden to a small ant lion.
Our female lioness with the cubs is still doing well. The picture above was taken last night by Richard Venter. They in great condition and are becoming more and more relaxed with the vehicles.
It was a beautiful evening, the night skies were amazing, we could not have asked for better weather.
Wow! what a drive we had last night!! We where slowly driving along chatting about the wonders of nature and came up to one of our dams and out of the corner of my trackers eye he saw a waterbuck being eaten by a crocodile!!
By Johan Kruger
We had a great evening yesterday with our lions we found our four young females and they where on the prowl again. We went looking for the big male and found him and what a show he put up roaring next to the car.
On our way home we stumbled on some luck when we also found our young female with her to cubs what a sight!!!
By Johan Kruger