Harnas Day 18

Gobabis Travel Blog

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Packed up my stuff from the lion enclosure this morning around 6:30. The boys were rustling around so much! We got through most the night without any of them but then at 5am they came down and started their wrestling and biting and gnawing and rolling and... suffocating lol. I think they underestimate how heavy they actually are! Children! But of course I still love them. I volunteered to do food prep this morning. I enjoy doing food prep because it is for the animals and we get to go in each day to see how they are and hand feed them. Sometimes depending on your responsibilities with other jobs you don’t get to see or spend time with animals, like if we are out at the Dam house with Lost or the Tree house with Cleo & Pride or doing farm work, or random things like de-ticking tortoises and building enclosures etc.

Food prep was slightly different today because we had to wait before we fed our animals for either Marietta or Frikkie to check what and how much we feed each group. It was good but they took forever to come and check so we were hanging around not being able to do anything until they came. Finally, when all the groups were finished and had everything lined up along the bench Marietta checked each one and let us go on to feeding.

Frikkie mentioned this morning that we have a ridiculous amount of new people arriving in on Friday. How the hell are we supposed to teach 22 new people the basics and full details of food prep in the 2-3 days that we usually get for them to be trained up!? Thats at least 5 people per group! 5 people plus 2 oldies in the food prep area per group will just be chaos.

It would have to be broken up right? Because there are quite a few people leaving this week some groups will be down to 3 or 4 people for the day. Not ours though, its quite amusing, so sucks to be them haha jks =P. I went into the souvenir shop today and bought a couple of things, I’ll get more before I go though. Of course its stuff that I don’t need, but that’s what souvenirs are anyway =).

Today was an Amazing afternoon! Okay, so first thing’s first, it started after lunch with the usual tree at three. First, before we went onto afternoon feeding at 4 we cleaned out the large cheetahs enclosure’s waterhole and raked the sand. I slipped in the (nearly) empty waterhole but it’s okay, we got it so sparkling clean i didn’t care that I was slimy and mm let’s see, oh - WET! After we were finished with the waterhole (leaving the tap on for it to fill up), Melissa and I raked the sand in front of the platform and turned over the soil - doesn’t look too bad either! We did that and had friendly conversation with the five cheetahs, while Alex and Ria went back to the food prep area to return the brooms and buckets we used so the group going out to clean the lifeline waterholes could take them out.

We finished at 4 and moved on to start the afternoon feeding.  We went to collect to meat buckets for the crocs and cheetahs and met Alex and Ria coming back from feeding Jaws. Its kinda unusual because we usually do those guys after we’ve finished with the tour but if they were there already then why not?! There wasn’t tour this afternoon which turned out to be a good thing. I mean, it was a great afternoon for adrenaline and getting a kick out of our own work but tourists might have freaked out a bit or more importantly, we would have been slightly embarrassed not being able to show them how we do our job properly! The ONLY time that it hadn’t been done by us properly. Afram decided to spit chips at us and refused to let us get up to the platform today. Little does he know that it was caught on tap buddy!! Well he probably does as the camera wasn’t hidden or anything - but yeah, I recorded your bad behaviour young man!! He wouldn’t let us pass, kept jumping and hissing at us then meowing, the circling around either us or the female cheetahs and doing it all over again.
They had been pacing the fence line since at least 3pm and by now it was 4:40. He was fine when we were in there cleaning and tidying up his enclosure (we still cant touch him like we can with the other 4) but hes a completely different cheetah when there’s food involved! I don’t understand why he thinks he has to act all touch and macho when the 3 girls and Luegi the other male are fine, but it adds to the experience and sort of bring back the fact that even though they aren’t ‘in’ the wild at Harnas, that they are wild animals! It makes the day more interesting too I loved every minute of it!! It was a full on natural rush!!

After feeding them and our other animals I sat with Jaws for a few minutes and spoke to him at the side window as he sat up there.

Just for something new I edged my hand closer to the window to see if he’d freak out. The window was gridded so he wouldn’t have been able to reach out or get me if he wanted to. I put my finger through and scratched him. He flinched at first because he obviously doesn’t get many people touching him but didn’t seem to object to it! I spoke to him a little and then he jumped off the edge of the window and to the front gate. He pushed himself up against it and looked at me as if to say “come over here and do it! There’s more room!” I laughed at him and said “no chance in hell buddy - not yet!” spent another few minutes with him then left to fill out the food prep book and sit in the courtyard with the baby lions. But hey, I TOUCHED JAWS!!! Baby steps, kiddo, baby steps =) with my 10 days left I’ve decided he is my mission before I go.

I collected the book from the volunteers room and took it to the courtyard where I found Alex, Ria, Shell and a few others. We got talking and laughed at Tumella the parrot when after a long conversation we realised she was whistling a tune but didn’t notice until much later. She must have got embarrassed as she stopped soon after we did lol, she’s awesome. Because out group was on cleaning today (gawd that seems to be every day instead of every 4) we got invited to go out on the lion feeding (on the lifeline) with Frikkie, so we decided to hang around the courtyard until it was time to meet at the cars outside the lion enclosure.

Alex left us for 10 minutes to go back to turn off the tap in the cheetah enclosure at 5:30 and said it looks amazing.

I’ll bet it does considering I scrubbed that algae crap off - WITH MY ASS! Haha, nah, it wasn’t that bad, but yeah, I’d say I did a good job using the broom to clean it too =). I spent some time with the baby lions around the grassed side of the house in the courtyard and got a few photos. So I thought it was bad enough that the older boys were named after the boys in Angelina Jolie’s life, today I was told that the real name’s for the babies were named after her and her daughters! What the hell!? For starters, EW, 2 of the cubs are males! Pinkey, Blackey, Mexican and Boney are (in order); Shiloh, Z (short for Zahara), Viv and Angie. VIV FOR MEXICAN?!! He’s the roughest one there! Poor little kid, well I’ll let all you children keep some pride and maintain calling you by your original collar names!! Apparently the reason they were named after their collars in the first place and not their ‘birth certificate’ names was in case one of them died in their first few weeks and to avoid getting attached to them by giving them a ‘real’ name.
If you’d ask me giving a male cub a females name provides more of a distance than a collar name!!! Grrr..

Anyway on a lighter note, the lions that we went out to feed on the lifeline during lion feeding were amazing! And they are Huge!! And we got so close to them! Frikkie had Trust roar on command, only cuz he looked at him after throwing over his mean and Trust is pretty protective of his food lol. When we got around to Macho though, he roared as Frikkie spoke to him.
He jumped up to his food when Frikkie threw it over. I have completely and utterly fallen in love with lions!!!! They are beautiful!
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photo by: Kayelem