The holiday season has begun in Marloth Park….Warnings for holidaymakers with children…

Island life for this cape buffalo with a friend on the river’s edge.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Our resident frog, which we mistakenly assumed was a male is a female. The frog male is much smaller than the female. The male took up residence with her overnight last night. We’ll continue to observe to see what transpires for this mating pair. She’s been sitting there for months, although she took off during the rain last week, returning three nights later. When we turn on this light fixture at night, the insects are prolific, and she sits there darting out her tongue for tasty treats. We’ll see how it goes tonight, with two of them sharing the nighttime opportunities.

We were both up at the crack of dawn, hoping to reach grandson Vincent to wish him a happy birthday. The time difference is 12 hours. He and his family are in Maui, Hawaii, for the holiday season, snorkeling, boogie boarding, and scuba diving.

As holidaymakers and activities have ramped up this weekend in Marloth Park, we are seeing a distinct reduction in the number of wildlife visitors and more and more vehicles on the roads.  
The only elephant we spotted on the river this morning with a cattle egret in flight near its trunk.

So far today, we’ve fed a few bushbuck moms and babies. Perhaps by early evening, when the garden is usually filled with a wide array of wildlife, we’ll have more visitors. But, for now, we’re on our own.

We took off in the red car around 8:00 am to drive around the park. We encountered many vehicles but few animals other than those we’ve shown here today, with fewer sightings on the Crocodile River than usual.

A pair of male ostriches wandering through the bush this morning.

On Facebook this morning and we noticed this warning about children in the park written by a conscientious and dedicated ranger:

Good morning everyone.
Please warn all your guests not to leave small children to explore the bush without an adult. We do have a lot of snakes out and about at the moment. 

There was also an incident this morning with 2 small children going right up to Kudu bulls to feed them without an adult nearby, we luckily had an owner stop them. (Kudu bulls have massive horns and, although not necessarily aggressive animals, could easily and unintentionally impale a child or adult).

All animals are wild; before we have serious injuries, please educate those who think we are a petting zoo. Thank you.

For the first time, we noticed ostrich’s ears which may usually be hidden under layers of plumage. Unlike humans, birds’ ears are holes on either side of their heads, with no cartilage. Contrary to what most humans believe, ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand.

We see this type of behavior all the time, especially during holidays when the park is filled with tourists. Once again, we’re driving past cars with children, young children, sitting on the parent’s lap driving the vehicle, often a large SUV or truck.

Recently, we encounter two girls alone in the front seat of an SUV, with one driving, neither of whom could have been over 12 years old. Who are these parents that allow this dangerous activity?  

During the mating season (June- November), the male ostrich’s beak and legs turn red/pink to attract the female for mating.

Sure, there are many periods of time where there are no police in Marloth Park for long stretches although, in the past few days, we have seen a few police vehicles. We hope they stay through the holiday season.

Does this fact give people the right to ignore laws, endangering not only their own children’s lives but the lives of others including the wildlife? Last holiday season, spring break, 12 animals were killed from speeding and careless driving in the park. This was devastating news to all of us who love this place and its wildlife occupants.

A peculiar-looking bird, isn’t it?  Ostriches are remnants of the prehistoric era.

Besides the risk to humans, wildlife and property there is also a lack of consideration by some holidaymakers over noise (and trash) restrictions as part of the regulations in Marloth Park.  

This is supposed to be a peaceful and quiet place where wildlife and humans can co-exist in a stress-free environment. Sadly, that’s not always the case during holiday periods and, at other times as well.

From this angle, it’s difficult to determine the species other than due to the long neck.

We’re hoping after posting this on several Marloth Park pages in Facebook some holidaymakers may have an opportunity to realize the value of a chance to experience this magical place.

The rules and regulations for Marloth Park may be found here at this link.  Although many of these rules apply to construction and building, in reading through the list, toward the end, each regulation has a deep and genuine purpose of maintaining the integrity and value of this particular community and safety for all blessed to be here.

A saddle-billed stork on the Crocodile River this morning.

Sure, we are only visitors ourselves here (for almost one year, leaving in February and who are we to tell others how to behave?  But, our motives are not entirely altruistic.  

We plan to return to Marloth Park 21 months after we leave and we can only hope we’ll find it to be as meaningful and magical as it’s been for us for this entire year we’ve spent living here.  

Perhaps this is selfish but if everyone shared a similar selfishness to keep Marloth Park as wonderful as it is, we’d each commit to a personal role in appreciating our time here and dedicating our efforts for the benefits of the wildlife and the surroundings.  

Ultimately in doing so, humans will continue to relish in the beauty and wonder of one of the most unique places on earth.

Be well.  Be happy during this holiday season and always.
                       Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2017:

Views of Cape Horn, known as the bottom of the world, from the ship’s bow.  For more photos, please click here.