Met all 10 elephants currently in release programme yesterday afternoon including Chamilandu, Pickle’s adopted elephant. (Pickle is my niece – Nicola’s, Nickname!). They are all so BEAUTIFUL and seem so so relaxed and happy. It’s so lovely to see the full circle of this conservation project, from rescue and rehabilitation to this amazing stage where they will gradually go back into the wild.
My favourite animal in camp though is Shaana, a baby female buffalo. She was sucking my whole hand in her mouth last night, she is so cute and adorable, problem is she is getting big and has started to head-butt everyone! As I write she is grazing no more than 10 feet from me.
My tent here at Camp Phoenix is right on the river, no more than 20ft from the waters edge… so I get up to go for a pee outside my tent about 2am, put my head torch on and as I walk outside I see my light reflect onto 2 eyes in the water … after a LARGE fart and a DEEP breath I went for a pee… he he he … I’m not joking with you either, this is so surreal!
Walking with 10 elephants in the release programme this morning which was so SPECIAL!!!
They are so Beautiful.
Left Mukambi Camp and spent my first night at Camp Phoenix which is where the orphaned elephants go to when they are ready to begin their release programme. This project is managed by Theo (aka Phil) and his wife Lisa.
A male lion decided to sit behind Cosmas’ tent last night (his is next to mine) and then proceeded to make that noise male lions make keeping us all awake from about 2am – 5am…
Cool but scary!
Internet has been down for over a day here… hence no contact.
Last night I had 3 lions visit my tent and hang out and sleep from 1am – 5am… I thought it was two but found out it was actually three when one of the camp workers told me this morning at breakfast, he saw them all lying directly behind my tent when he looked out his window.
One of them kept sniffing me through the tent wall. I keep seeing its nose press up hard against the tent wall and sniff…
I gotta say it was probably the most scariest 4 hours of my life.
Everyone says it’s because I’m new in camp and they know it!
Not a happy bunny right now !
Kafue National Park, Mukanbi Camp
The camp is on the Kafue river and the last couple of nights I’ve had elephants, hippo, lion and hyenas passing my tent… it’s *!##*@ scary!!!!!.
Last night a lion stopped outside my tent for a rest and he/ she was just lying there, about 4 feet from my head and I could here him/ her breathing… I was too scared to look out my mesh window or even get out of my sleeping bag… Phew, I’ve gotta say that I was sh#**#@! myself; proper sh#**#@! myself!!!
Amazing place is The Kafue National Park… We (3 of us including Cosmas) are out in the bush all day building the monkey enclosures and not a word of a lie we hear lions roaring every few hours and we have no idea really where they are and how far away they are and we have no guns or a vehicle to run to for protection… I FEEL ALIVE!
Now at Makumbi where I will be overseeing the building of new primate facilities for ZPP (Zambia Primate Project). In partnership with the Born Free Foundation, OAT have contributed to the build of 5 new quarantine enclosures and 2 main primate enclosures for ZPP.
ZPP rescue primates who are being illegally kept. They are sold into the illegal pet trade, tied up by owners for entertainment or to attract people to their businesses and are also kept / grown for bush meat. Once rescued by ZPP, they are treated by the vet and they then spend a period of time in quarantine camps before they go to the main enclosures (1 for monkeys & 1 for baboons) where they are rehabilitated.
Once this process is complete they are put into troops ready for the release phase. At Mvula Camp, the release site, they are monitored for about 6 months by a team of carers under the guidance of Cosmas and then eventually they are left to live out the rest of their lives back in the wild where they belong. The troop leader is collared so that for a period of time the success of the release can be monitored. So far they have 95% success rate. This all sounds very easy but I can assure you there is a lot involved, including dangerous confiscations and its a long road to freedom…Thank goodness there are people like Cosmas and his ZPP colleagues who dedicate their lives to this project and this is why we, OAT, are so passionate about supporting them.
Cant wait to go on my first rescue with Cosmas and there is apparently one in the pipeline…!
Currently lying in bed in my sleeping bag (freezing cold outside) and its 7:30pm on Tuesday night. We lost power in the camp at 7pm so decided to go to bed early where I can at least keep warm.
It’s going to be really sad saying Goodbye to everyone here at Lilayi Elephant Nursery. It’s amazing how many friends I’ve made 2 & 4 legged!
On to visit another GRI Project tomorrow – ZPP (Zambia Primate Project). Cosmas Mumba, Project Manager, is coming to pick me up at 8am and we will drive to Mukambi camp in Kafue National Park.
If I’m honest I’m sh*!#@!# myself as I keep hearing stories about Lion, Elephant and Hyenas walking through the camp at night there. My Dutch friend gave me a large plastic bottle today as they said I’ll need it at Mukambi to pee in as once you’re in your tent at night you DON’T COME OUT!.. Nice.