I’m a city girl, through and through. I love noise, anything with rhinestones, flashy cars, big shopping malls, and of course, my favourite possession: a pair of 6 inch leopard print heels. I wear these shoes for two reasons, one; they make my legs look fabulous and two; I am a sucker for any living thing with fur or feathers.
In today’s economic climate it is extremely difficult for my generation of 20 something’s. We have been brought up believing “you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up” and after pursuing this dream, and Leopard Print Heels diligently going to university to study our passions, we are faced with the ugly reality of the world today: You can indeed be whatever you want to be when you grow up, just don’t expect to get a job doing it. So, like thousands of other young adults around the world, I found myself unemployed, living with my parents, and totally lost. I felt that I needed to do something vastly different, and get a new perspective on life, in the desperate hope that I would have an epiphany of sorts, and work out what it is that I Leopard Print Heels’m supposed to be doing on this big beautiful planet. So sitting on my bed one night with endless travel options running through my mind, I caught a glimpse of my leopard print heels perched proudly in my cupboard and it came to me: Wildlife. I was going to go and save wild South African animals in need. 2 minutes later on Google, and I found it: Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Sanctuary, situated on the outskirts of the Kruger National Park in the Limpopo Provence. It is dedicated to saving and (where possible) rehabilitating abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife. So I Leopard Print Heels packed my bags, hesitantly traded in my leopard print heels for a pair of hideous hiking boots, and drove the four and a half hours from Johannesburg to a small town called Hoedspruit, to complete a 3 month stint saving the world, one fury baby at a time.
The role of a volunteer is simple: assist with the day to day running of a rehabilitation centre that services over 250 species of animals. Basically feeding and cleaning. Easy right? Absolutely not! Apart from needing to get over my fear of faeces and raw meat, one is exposed to every smell Leopard Print Heels known to man, and is involved with intense physical labour. At one point I had to ask myself: “am I seriously going to pick up poo for 3 months?”, but I soon realised that whilst cleaning and feeding, you are inches away from, and sometimes in contact with, some of the most incredible creatures that very few people will get to see in a life time let alone be close to, and sometimes even touch.
The emotional aspect can be quite challenging, but one very quickly learns that sometimes we just need to let nature take its course. We had a Leopard Print Heels new born Red Duiker (antelope) brought to the rehab one night, still with its umbilical cord attached. Some kind people had picked it up and brought it to the sanctuary assuming that it had been rejected by its mother. It couldn’t have been bigger than a rugby ball. The golden rule with saving a new born is feeding at a rate of 10% of their body weight, spread over 24 hours, at two hour intervals. This little boy was getting full cream cow’s milk (with added probiotics), and weighed less than a kilogram. I decided to name him Leopard Print Heels Theodore after my Father and Grandfather and when I suggested this name, the permanent staff exchanged worrying glances. “We don’t name them until they are stable” one of the vet nurses replied. For 3 days we battled with this baby, he wouldn’t latch onto the teat, and even when force fed it still wasn’t getting enough nutrients. We watched his condition deteriorate until it got to the point where he couldn’t even lift his tiny head, so we made the hard decision to euthanize. I was gutted, I felt like I was losing my father and Leopard Print Heels grandfather. I hated the fact that there was nothing I could do about it. It was at this point that I learnt two things: Yes, we shouldn’t name them until they are stable, because otherwise you become a constant emotional wreck, and secondly, nature will always find a way. This little Duiker was rejected by his mother for a reason, she knew that something was wrong, possibly internally, and sometimes we humans need to learn to step back and allow fate to take the wheel.
Sometimes however, we can save them. Like the Mountain Boys, two Leopard Print Heels cheetah brothers who were causing problems for a local community, eating livestock, and were brought to the sanctuary in an attempt to rescue them from being killed. They have been permanent residents at the rehab for at least 6 years and seem to quite enjoy their new home. Whilst feeding them we noticed that both were incredibly lethargic, and hadn’t eaten their previous meal. We called the vet who decided to sedate them to get a closer look, and we then noticed that they were both covered in fleas, and when I say covered, I mean COVERED. We carried them Leopard Print Heels back to the clinic on canvas “stretchers”, and started treating them for the fleas with a spray which seemed to be working, but we realised that one of them was incredibly thin, and probably wouldn’t make it through the night. The vet said we needed to do a blood transfusion, and because he hadn’t brought any suitable blood with him, we would need to take from another one of the Cheetahs we have at the Sanctuary. In stepped Bullet, the most magnificent boy I have ever seen, in perfect condition, and with a swag in his step Leopard Print Heels. We sedated him and started drawing blood. We now had 3 sedated cheetahs sprawled across tables, counters and even the floor in our tiny make-shift clinic. We transfused the blood, and then there was nothing more to do but pray that our treatment worked and wait. I am now very pleased to write that a month later, both are doing incredibly well, and are completely flea free, thanks to human intervention and of course, the magnificent Bullet!
It is also very important that we learn quickly about the circle of life, and that nature’s basic premise is that each segment Leopard Print Heels of it (be it forna or flora) serves a purpose for another. One has to die so that another can live. In the surrounding areas of Kruger National Park and Hoedspruit it is known that if an animal dies or is killed for whatever reason, Moholoholo is called so that we can come and harvest the meat to feed to our animals at the rehab. This is vital for its survival as it costs over half a million Rand (approximately £32 000) to run a month. We got a call that a rogue bull elephant in the Kruger Park had been Leopard Print Heels shot and that we should come immediately to take the remains as it was a hot day and the meat would soon rot. So we arrived (knives in hand) and there lay before us an awe-inspiring majestic beast. We were excited at the chance to see and touch an elephant in such detail, up close and personal. I put my hands on his rough bark-like skin, and ran them along the side of his neck, up to his velvety ears, and then onto his cheeks and skin around his eyes. It was insane to believe that Leopard Print Heels such a tough animal could have such soft skin on its face. I was really taken aback by this, how could I mutilate such an incredible being? But, this is nature. This is how it works out in the wild; something dies so another can live. So having mastered my fear of handling raw meat, I was able to start carving and discover the intricate conformation of an elephant. With over 3000 muscles in its trunk alone, arteries with the width of a tennis ball, and a heart that can weigh up to 25KG’s (approximately 55lbs), to see the mechanics Leopard Print Heels on such a large scale was something I will never forget. Mother Nature is one smart lady!
And then of course there is the rehabilitation side, like what happened with Houdini, the hand raised tame Rock Dassie (Hyrax) . The time had come for Houdini to be released into the wild (as he was eating and coping incredibly well on his own) and as much as the little girl inside of me wants to put him on my lap, and cuddle and love him till the end of eternity, we now had to limit his human interaction Leopard Print Heels, and let him find his true wild Dassie inside.
This was heart breaking, as every time I went into his enclosure to feed and clean, he begged me to pick him up, and called and climbed up my leg. As much as I wanted to satisfy his demands, I had to remember his needs, and ignore these attempts to get attention. Houdini is doing well learning to be wild again, and as much as it breaks my heart, it’s so much better for his future success in the wild.
There are so many stories I can tell, each with its Leopard Print Heels own moral and ending, but the point is, I can sit back and say that I have done something to help. I have saved lives, and I am an official part of the African bush that I hold so deeply in my heart. So the questions beg: have I had an epiphany? Do I now know what I want to do with my life? Have I changed as a person? Well let me put it this way, I will still like noise, anything with rhinestones, flashy cars, big shopping malls, and of course I will still love my Leopard Print Heels 6 inch leopard print heels, which I will now wear for only one reason: they remind me of my time here at Moholoholo, and what it is like to be in the presence of real, live breathing leopard print!
Article from our Ambassador in Japan, Yukiyo Cabrini: