That Hippo Chased Me!

Pod of Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Luan...

Pod of Hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Luangwa Valley, Zambia Français

Ah, with spring in full swing early on in the game, I was thinking back to last year where our spring/summer took so long to make it devout. Hippos were dying due to the lack of rain and I remember ever so clearly being upset about this. Hippo is in the top three of my all time favourite wild animals.  October we usually see fantastic rains, most welcomed as they wash away all the dust, dirt and old oil on the roads away. But not last year – November saw our first rains. Sad as our wildlife really battled. This year, we have seen it all way early – now, September. Whoohoo  (as she danced in the rain)

As a teen enjoying the lush beauty of a game reserve in Bela Bela, I stumbled upon a mommy Hippo nibbling on the river bed. It’s not often Hippos will come out in full view to nibble but the summers air was cool enough. About 50m from the Hippo was the swimming pool which I had come down to enjoy.

Here’s where my blonde moment #101 comes in. I’m born and bred African. I know the dangers of the wildlife so why did I think walking over to the Hippo to ‘pat’ it was an ever slight possibility ?!?

For some reason I thought – well, if it’s over this side of the river and so close to the pool, it must be ‘tame’.  Hanging around the pool too where a gang of rangers. Watching me. Looking back at them, they knew what stupidity was about to happen.

I nudged a little closer, slowly . . .  until . . . .

HELP – RUN FOR YOUR LIFE !!!

I was being chased by the Hippo. Where, what, when – the pool. I ran and dived into the pool then swam straight to the deep end faster than any olympic swimmer I bet.

Now what! Oh heck, Hippos live in water. She was lingering around the shallow end of the pool. I’m guessing no slope in or out held her back. Those wildlife rangers were laughing so hard, I bet they had sore stomachs the next day.

I felt like such a fool, stupid and embarrassed. There it was – her baby. We all know, you never approach a wild animal let alone one with young.

I laugh easily at myself as is, so no point not to join in the laughter with the game rangers.

Why? I asked them for sitting back in the know of what was about to unfold! Their response was ‘we couldn’t resist’ They knew this Hippo well apparently. Still to this day, I laugh at that video stuck in my memory.

Love Africa.

Save Our Rhino

If I can reach just one person, one organisation out there to please sit up and notice. In my beautiful country of South Africa we take great pride in our wildlife and our BIG FIVE. The big five consist of our RHINO, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo and Leopard. These animals are represented on our currency too.

I fall to my knees when I see the headlines ‘another rhino – poached’ It’s torture to tranquillize one of these magnificent animals and hack off it’s horn for the black market. A Rhino horn is made up of no more that your finger nail. Compressed hair. Ingesting it will not and does not have any medicinal purpose.

We have almost 5000 left here in South Africa, but for how long. Every 20 hour – yes you read right – 20 hours, a Rhino is poached in our country. Do the math. It won’t take long before they are officially extinct. It is beyond conceivable and leaves one gutted. Will my grandchildren make it to ever see such a magnificent animal in the wild, or worse, ever even see one period !!

This link is graphic, it’s real, it’s happening as we speak. It angers me when foreigners come here with their $$$ and have the audacity to ‘purchase’ one for a kill. Firstly, that is not hunting. Secondly – WHY ?? I get more angry that our govt seems to have no limit to what is for sale and where the buck stops.Everything seems to have a price tag.  We have plenty celebrities visit and really leave here having experienced Africa – none of which is without having been to the bushes, game reserves and national parks to see our very dear wildlife. There is no Africa if not with its rich array of animals.

I often think to myself, with all our high walls, personal cctv and electric fences around our houses – WHY not the same in the form of a sanctuary for our Rhinos. Poaches have no boundaries as even private game reserves have fallen victim.

A group of our countries musicians came together and produces a cd called simply ‘Save Our Rhino’. Google it and buy the cd – the sales are in aid of support in fighting this battle. This is so very near and dear to my heart. Often having seen Rhino in game reserves leaves me in awe at how amazing our planet is and it is our responsibility to care and protect our wildlife, our animals and more. Can you imagine the pain of being alive while being hacked – pregnant Rhino and babies are not spared.

Here’s one of many YouTube links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctOiY4U0_wo&feature=related

SAVE OUR RHINO.