Sunday, September 27, 2009

Na an Ku Se Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia

A great start to our adventure!
We have just spent two weeks as volunteers at Na an ku se wildlife sanctuary in central Namibia, but it seems more like a lifetime (in a good way).

The sanctuary accepts wild animals (with a focus on large carnivores and baboons) that have been orphaned or troublesome animals that have been captured, and try to rehabilitate and release the animals back to the wild when possible. When this is not possible they keep the animals and provide them with good living conditions. In the past two years they have released approximately 24 large cats. The sanctuary is also affilitated with a medical clinic for native bushmen, who they also employ, and run a school for their children. We met and worked alongside many inspring staff members and volunteers from the UK, Germany, Holland, France, New Zealand, and the USA and elsewhere.

While there our duties included preparing food and feeding the animals: wild cats (lions, leopards, cheetahs, caracals) baboons, meerkats, horses, pigs, fowl, rabbits, etc, checking and repairing the enclosure and border fences, walking with and sleeping with the baby baboons, helping at the school, and helping with various building and repair projects.

We had many amazing experiences: we threw meat to lions; we petted tame cheetahs and caracals; slept with, were bitten by, and peed on by baboons; cut various carcass parts with a bandsaw and fed them to large cats; stood inside enclosures with wild cheetahs; helped transfer a wild cheetah from a trap to a holding cage, and much more.

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