Injuries and anomalies in the bush…

This little duiker has his two horns growing strangely. Typically, males have two small horns atop their heads. This one has a center horn and a second horn, growing from the right side of his head. Most likely, this anomaly doesn’t cause him any problems.

Note: None of today’s photos are ours. This morning while getting ready for the day, Tom hollered out to me, “Hurry and come outside!” Not yet dressed, I grabbed a bath towel, covered myself, and headed out the door. But, I was too late. The sighting he was referring to was long gone.

It was Mom and Babies, who originally included three piglets, but now only two, who appeared in the garden with her tail gone from her injured-looking butt, which we’d noticed was looking bad over the past week or so. She lost one of her piglets last week. Whether it was eaten by the lions or other carnivores in Marloth Park or it was injured and couldn’t continue to carry on, surely being left to die.

No doubt, she was aware of her missing piglet. Then, to appear with an injury to her hind end, only days later must have been quite a blow to her. She continued to care for her remaining two piglets with attentive care, and then…this morning, she appears with the two in tow and a missing tail and bloody butt.

This female warthog appears to have been injured by either a snare or a fence.

It’s so sad,  but we’ll never know what happened to her, her piglet, and when and why her tail fell off. Warthog tails are long with a tuft of hair at the end. They use their tails to stand straight up when in the bush to let their family members know where they are. Also, they use their tails for a vital purpose…to swat off flies and insects. It’s constantly swishing back and forth.

How she’ll manage without a tail remains to be seen. But, warthogs have a robust immune system resulting in relatively quick injury healing and are highly adaptable. I imagine she will improvise and alert her piglets to her whereabouts with grunts and other pig sounds.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get outside quickly enough to get a photo of her injury. Certainly, she and the two piglets will return in the next few days, and I’ll do so at that time and post it the next day. In the interim, today, we’re posting a few photos (NOT OUR PHOTOS) that we borrowed from Facebook posts on the Marloth Park Sighting group.

Was this kudu shot or injured? It’s impossible to know.

We often see anomalies and congenital disabilities in the bush, which may in some cases be due to inbreeding. The photo of the bushbuck with the peculiar placement of his two horns is an example of what may be such a case. It’s hard to say fo sure.These magical wild animals are resourceful. We can only imagine how hard life is for them. Many criticize the confinement of wildlife in Marloth Park. Still, in essence, their life here is considerably easier than for those in Kruger National Park, with fewer apex predators in Marloth Park. Of course, the recent five lions in the park have threatened their safety when numerous carcasses have been discovered since the onset of their presence. It’s not as safe as it used to be.

Although our bush home is not necessarily located in the areas where the lions have been sighted, they could easily change their territory in a few hours and suddenly appear in our area, which is a few kilometers from their current hunting ground. As a result, we keep an eye out constantly when we spend our days and evenings on the veranda.

May be an image of food and outdoors
This piglet appeared to have a broken back. Based on comments on Facebook, the rangers came to where it was spotted and euthanized it. So sad to see. Could this have been the missing third piglet of the mom described in today’s story with the missing tail? It could be.

As for wildlife injuries, the temptation is to contact the rangers each time we see an animal with a potentially life-threatening injury. But, there is a cost factor (who pays for the vets?) and a state of practicality. Warthogs seem to be the least likely animals to be provided with medical care.

Bushbucks, kudu, duikers, zebras, giraffes, and others might be offered care and rehabilitation by the vets that service Marloth Park’s wildlife and Wild and Free, Rehabilitate, Rescue and Release, a fantastic organization run by a dedicated wildlife expert and caregiver, Deidre. They rely upon donations to fund the center.

Of course, the Marloth Park Rangers and the Honorary Rangers are highly dedicated, hard-working individuals that strive to keep the animals in the park safe, healthy, and free from harm. We commend all of their efforts.

Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2020:

Tom’s burger in Palermo, Buenos Aires, in 2018, with ham, eggs, cheese, and beef plus fried potatoes. This made Tom drool when we were in lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, on day #280. For more photos, please click here.

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