An adorable face and a 40-minute traffic jam in Kruger…A story unfolds..A sad visitor to the garden…

It’s a rarity for us to see impalas in the garden, but several stopped by to partake of pellets. No doubt, they are hungry this time of year, put aside their apprehension of humans, and came to call. This adorable girl was chewing pellets when I shot this photo. Too cute for words!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We are saddened to see who we now call “Wounded.” He was stabbed near his eye by another animal’s horn or tusk.

It was a rare occasion when a herd of impalas, one male, and 12 females, stopped by to see if we had something for them to eat. Of course, we did! It’s tough for the wildlife this time of year when the dry bush offers little sustenance for the hungry animals.

We were on a dirt road in Kruger making our way back to the Crocodile Bridge entrance to the park when we encountered this elephant blocking the road.

There’s a lot of controversy about feeding the wildlife in Marloth Park but most residents have a hard time resisting giving them the nutritional pellets (made from plant matter) when we see how hungry they are, especially before and in the early part of the rainy season.

We got as close as was safe.  He wasn’t about to move for us.

Well, the rainy season has begun, and we see tiny buds on the dry bushes and trees, knowing full well, in due time, leaves will blossom, and Marloth Park will be rich in healthful nutrition for the many herbivores and omnivores that dwell herein.

He was enjoying his meal of dry bushes and wasn’t about to move over for us.

Last night, it rained throughout the night, what seemed to be a good soaking rain, precisely what is needed now. Hopefully, this will continue to ensure a food-rich environment for the wildlife.

We didn’t hesitate to remain at a distance to ensure our safety while we waited patiently.

In some years past, many wildlife didn’t survive during droughts, but those in Marloth Park had a better chance of survival when residents and visitors faithfully fed the animals that came to call.  

While we waited patiently, we took the time to observe some of his features through the camera’s lens.

It has been a dedicated process for us, and I must add that we believe it has been the right thing to do, although some don’t always agree. We’ve been going through a 40 kg (88 pounds) bag of pellets every four to five days at the cost of about ZAR 223 (US $16) per bag.

We noticed as we waited, that he had a hole in his ear which could have been during a fight or damage from a tree or bush while grazing.

We easily rationalize this expenditure. If we lived in the US we’d be spending a lot more than ZAR 1395 (US $100) a month on some form of entertainment. (Gosh, while in the US, we went to one movie and spent ZAR 698 (US $50) for two tickets and snacks. That’s for two hours of entertainment.

The diameter of his foot was astounding.  An elephant’s foot can range from 40 to 50 cm (1.31 to 1.6 feet in length.  

This expenditure is for the great pleasure of feeding hungry animals and lasts for 16 hours every day. No comparison, is there? For us, the entertainment factor is a piece of the experience.  

We kept in mind that this is his terrain, and we respectfully waited to avoid upsetting his meal.

But, in the process, we learn so much and look forward to sharing it with all of our worldwide readers who may never be up close and personal with African wildlife.

The end of the elephant’s tail has hairs that act as a small brush, suitable for swatting flies, bees, and other insects.

So when the 13 impalas stopped by, we squealed with delight over the “honking” sound made by the females announcing their arrival and desire to be fed. It was enchanting.

Another elephant stayed away from the road while grazing.

In the process of enjoying them, I took today’s main photo, smiling all the while over their adorable and whimsical faces. Often, visitors dismiss the impalas since they are so abundant in the bush. But, we’ve both taken an affinity to their beauty and nature and truly appreciated their visit to our garden.

Can we even imagine the strength and weight of these massive feet?  An African bush elephant can weigh up to 6000 kg (13,228 pounds). The average automobile weighs 2268 kg (5000 pounds) for comparison. 

A few days ago, we continued our 40-minute delay in Kruger when an elephant blocked the dirt road preventing us from safely passing. Please read the captions under the included photos to see how the story unfolded before our eyes.  

Finally, after no less than 40 minutes, he crossed to the other side of the road as we watched hoping he’d move into the bush.

In today’s “Sighting of the Day in the Bush,” we’re sharing a sad photo of a warthog who’s had a severe injury to his eye. We can’t tell if he was blinded in the eye, but it’s easy to see he is suffering.  Because warthogs are in significant numbers in the bush, no efforts are made to treat them for illness or injury. This is a hard reality.

He’s come by each day for the past several days, and we freely feed him as much as he wants to, including fruits and carrots. Hopefully, over time he’ll heal and be able to live an entire life in the bush. Many of these animals are very resilient in healing on their own.

It was at this point that we were able to pass. But, the 40 minutes of observing was well worth the wait.

It’s raining off, and on today, so we’re staying put. After a stormy night’s sleep, a nap may be on the agenda.  I’m not good at dozing off during the day, but on a rare occasion, I drift off for 15 to 20 minutes, all that’s needed for either of us to feel revitalized.

That’s it for today, folks. Have an excellent day and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 7, 2017:

The adorable costumed girl waved when she spotted us with a camera at the Metrocentre Mall in Managua, Nicaragua. For more photos, please click here.

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