Harnas Wildlife Foundation is an oasis in an otherwise harsh environment, one in which wildlife thrives though. It is a centre for the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured wildlife including baboons, cheetah, lions, leopards, wild dog, caracal and other smaller animals like meerkats, bat-eared foxes and vervet monkeys. Our unit overlooked an area frequented by springbok, kudu and the ever vigilant banded mongooses. The following photo was taken outside our unit showing a banded mongoose foraging for food and a ground squirrel looking on from the comfort of his burrow:
Although ferocious animals, they tend to their young and rally around should something threaten one of their group.
Four clans of meerkats are housed in the lapa area. They are always vigilant and never miss anything that goes on.
Animals roam around this fenced off area and interact with staff and visitors alike.
All big animals are named which makes the interaction with them that much more personal.
Halo, as he was “affectionately” known, was a Springbok ram who used his small horns on visitors and staff, specially females. Hence the short length of hose-pipe fitted onto the horns to prevent damage when he was in his playful mood.
Tours were organised to see some of the animals that were being rehabilitated. These tours usually lasted about 3 hours and involved checking up on the animals and providing food for them. Once rehabilitated, animals were relocated to other farms or released into a larger area known as the life-line, a 30000 ha part where animals fend for themselves.
Wild dogs show no mercy when feeding but as frenetic as the feeding gets, they care for each other and no wild dog is hurt by any other wild dog.
Christmas eve saw the arrival of Father Christmas, much to the delight of all the children at Harnas who received a gift from him. Morgan was Santa’s helper for the evening 🙂
Christmas day saw a lot of rain which put a slight damper on festivities but not before the children gave a song and dance show for everyone.
I helped out on the morning tour on Christmas morning in the rain which gave a new perspective on animals and their behaviour.
Feeding was quite an intensive operation. All babies on the farm had to be fed mostly by hand. Here 2 baby warthogs can be seen being bottle fed by Morgan.
Josh feeding the foal named Hope.
On Christmas day Nica needed some peace and quiet to eat her lunch woth Ollie so took herself off to eat on the grass by herself.
The day after Christmas we were taken out on research into the life-line area to check up on the cats that have been released to fend for themselves. Of particular interest was a cheetah named Pride with her 2 cubs. She had been injured by a warthog and had a nasty gash on her chest that was being treated. After a short search she was found with her cubs.
Finally the time came to leave Harnas. After the few days there we had grown to love the place and its occupants. We had made many new friends, both with people and animals, and it was extremely difficult to tear ourselves away. With a heavy heart we packed the car and said our goodbyes. The journey back to Durban was about to start.