Yesterday morning, while wildlife watching, we noticed a terrible sight. One of our precious two favorite bushbucks, Gordy Thick Neck, is the other) came up to the veranda closer than usual, looking at us with sorrowful eyes. He leaned toward us as if asking for help. His right hoof was stuck inside what appeared to be a beef or pork an “O” bone, as shown in the main photo.
We were horrified to see this. A seemingly simple situation such as this could result in the death of an animal as the pain worsens, and he’d be unable to move about to roam to feed. He was limping each time he tried to move. Besides, he could have been long gone by the time anyone would show up to help him. We contacted the rangers but never heard back.
The vet would have to dart him to remove the bone to remedy this situation. With the number of bushbucks in Marloth Park right now, the expense may have been prohibitive to save one bushbuck.
There was nothing we could do. His massive horns could easily, even if unintentionally, eviscerate a human if he was frightened or startled if we tried to help. All we could do was feed him, comfort him with our soothing voices, and hope that somehow the bone would fall off.
I was especially worried about the lions that have been seen so close to us this past week. Gordy could have easily fallen prey to a lion attack. He could barely walk, let alone run from a predator such as the mighty lion.
Miracle of all miracles, this morning, Gordy showed up in the garden without the bone. It must have fallen, or he may have been able to coax it off. However, it happened. It was a stroke of good luck. This morning I could see a little indention above his right hoof where the bone must have been cutting into him. But, he seemed like his usual self, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled.
Last night while out to dinner with Rita and Gerhard at Jabula, I couldn’t stop thinking of him. I worried that he’d go off into the bush somewhere and die. But, these animals are very resilient and resourceful, more than we can imagine. They suffer during the dry winter months with little food and water and survive yearly.
Carcasses of various wildlife are found in the bush with building materials, fence parts, and wires wrapped around a part of their body, eventually causing their demise. Sure, many don’t make it through these types of situations. As is the case worldwide, human carelessness and lack of concern for the world’s wildlife rapidly decline the number of various species.
We often watch videos on Facebook and Youtube with kind humans making every effort to release wildlife trapped in human garbage, fishing lines, fences, and other materials that can easily result in the extinction of a species. A simple little bone is a perfect example of how much destruction a thoughtless human can perpetrate when tossing out human food to the animals.
Yes, some wildlife consume bones to get to the nutritious bone marrow. But, we overseers of the wildlife in Marloth Park, but be cautious and think twice before tossing out a human food product into the garden. Many say it’s best not to feed at all for this very reason. But, there’s always a reliable and thoughtful means of helping out the wildlife. The best options are pellets, fruit, and vegetables they can easily digest.
Tomorrow we are going to a party by the pool at Jabula to celebrate Leon’s 61st birthday, starting at 10:00 am, ending at 6:00 pm. He’s doing a pig (not a warthog) on a spit and side dishes for the group of about 40, including us and Rita and Gerhard. I will bring my food since I’ve lost interest in eating pigs lately. Humm…I wonder why…
Have a lovely day, everyone.
Photo from one year ago today, February 5, 2021: