It’s a little busy here this morning, surprising for a Saturday when soon the official three-week holiday begins, and holidaymakers have begun to filter into Marloth Park. There were several kudus, bushbucks, and impalas and, of course, the usual, Hoppie’s Mom and her two annoying piglets who always break the little fence to get into the garden closest to the house.
It’s as if the three of them lie in wait for me to toss pellets to other animals and then come charging toward the house, hoping to partake in the bounty. Invariably, they scare off some of the smaller antelopes, but Big Daddies and Norman take no flack from them, often tipping their massive horns to show them who’s boss.
It’s no wonder that warthogs, pigs that they are, end up with heinous injuries from being stabbed with those massive horns by the larger antelopes in the park. It’s always sad to see those gaping holes, often oozing blood and filled with maggots, but surprisingly, warthogs are quite sturdy with strong immune systems, and they survive.
As I sit here now at the table on the veranda, I am reminded that last night just when I was walking out the door to get into Sindee’s car to head to Jabula, a half dozen baboons hit the veranda. There was nothing out there they could harm, and since they don’t respond to women chasing them off, I could do nothing.
With the lions nearby, I didn’t want to go out onto the veranda in the dark when I returned from Jabula. This morning I faced a mess on the table. The baboons had actually peed on the table, and it wore off the varnish, right where I usually sit. I got some hot soapy paper towels and washed it over and over again, cringing all the while.
Yesterday, when Danie stopped by, he told me that nine lions had a “kill” a few mornings ago, at the far end of this property. I didn’t hear anything unusual, but it could have been while I was in the shower.
Besides, it’s common to hear shrieks, barking (mostly impalas), and screaming noises in the bush, most of which we’ve become used to. Animals get into scuffles and make lots of noise at times. As quickly as a lion could grab a bushbuck or an impala by the neck, we wouldn’t necessarily hear a thing, even if it was nearby.
As for last night’s visit to Jabula would only have been more fun if Tom had been there. Sindee and I sat at the bar chatting and laughing while Leon spent most of the evening entertaining us on “hat night,” when he brought out more than a dozen fun hats for guests and staff to wear. We all laughed out loud as he entertained the group of us, filling all of the seats at the bar.
Seated to my left were three Americans who’d come to South Africa to hunt. She showed me a photo of a golden wildebeest she’d shot. Of course, I have distinct opinions about hunting these wild animals, many of whom we interact with on a daily basis. To spend over three years in Marloth Park watching animal behavior on a daily basis and reveling in the stunning means of communicating we have with them, it breaks my heart to think people would kill them for sport.
I fully understand the necessity for animals to be bred as a food sources. Let’s face it, every carnivore on the planet eats other species for survival. Most likely, that is why the variety of edible species exist. But, to kill animals for “fun,” even though the hunters donate the meat to the locals, is a little hard for me to accept.
Also, I understand the necessity of culling to preserve a richer environment for a remaining species and to avoid starvation when natural resources have been depleted by other animals or even humans. Ah, it’s a sensitive topic, and I understand and try to respect the choices made by certain factions who view wildlife very differently than we do.
Spend three years of your life “talking to the animals” to fully understand my perspective. Please don’t send me negative comments on this topic. As in many areas of life, we all have varying opinions, and all we can do is try to have an open mind to the fact that we may disagree on many topics. That’s why we avoid discussing politics on this site.
What would be the point of getting into a heated discussion when neither of the participants can change the other’s mind on many topics. Over the years, we’ve found ourselves avoiding discussions with others, centering around politics when we aren’t interested in getting into a heated debate. It may be stimulating for some, but it is not for us.
As both Tom and I have learned, the only benefit from heated discussion is when compromise is reached to solve a problem that can’t be resolved in calm conversation. However, I tend to avoid conflict; it only raises my blood pressure, not my awareness or knowledge. Subsequently, both of us have learned to speak calmly after a short cooling-off period (if needed) in an attempt to avoid conflict.
As far as I’m concerned, “fighting isn’t healthy,” as some claim to be the sign of a strong and loving relationship. Compassion, compromise, and a willingness to accept alternate views creates strong and loving relationships. No, we don’t always agree, but somehow, we always manage to make a fair and reasonable case for our point of view as we strive for a logical solution and ultimate decision.
Life is too short to spend it angry. No one is ever going to be lying on their deathbed, saying, “Gee, I’m glad I fought so hard to make a point.” instead, they could say, “Gee, I’m glad I loved so hard to make a peaceful life.”
Be well, my friends.
Photo from one year ago today, March 11, 2022: