Game count, Marloth Park…My two year “heartaversary”…The beat goes on…Thank goodness…

    Bossy, reaching onto the veranda for pellets I dropped.
Every year the Marloth Park Honorary Rangers conduct a count of all the game in Marloth Park. With 3000 hectares, 7413 acres, this is quite a daunting task for the hard-working Honorary Rangers volunteers. How this is managed is tricky with all the vegetation in which the wildlife can hide.
They’ve broken up the entirety of Marloth Park into sections and the Rangers are assigned sections to conduct the count by vehicle. Of course, this is an estimate and subsequently, they speculate the actual count is approximately 60% of the actual count.
Since we left Marloth Park in May 2019, as mentioned in a prior post,  a number of animals have been “culled” or relocated to other areas, including Lionspruit, a game conservancy within Marloth Park. See the map below:
Image result for map of marloth park
Map of Maroth Park, including Lionspruit, where two lions, Fluffy and Dezi reside, along with other wild animals, providing food for them to hunt.

The game count was conducted yesterday as shown in this report below.

“THE GAME COUNT RESULTS – 11 February 2021
These are the results of the game count this morning. Six vehicles and 23 spotters went out at 06.30 this morning. Thanks to everyone that participated. We appreciate your help!
Impala 493
Warthog 95
Wildebeest 12
Kudu 106
Zebra 44
Giraffe 36
Bushbuck 41
Duiker 23
Waterbuck 6
Ostrich 14
Baboon Groups 1
Monkey Groups 6
Mongoose Groups 2
Please keep in mind that this is a road count, which means that roughly only 60% of the game was counted.”
This information, posted by Honorary Ranger, and friend Uschi was all the more special for us when she and her husband Evan, also an Honorary Ranger, stopped by last night for a very pleasant visit. They live within walking distance from us, but drove here based on the fact there may be lions and leopards wandering in the park in the dark.
This was a rare scene, Helmeted Guinea-Fowl and Franks dining on seed together. This was the dad to a mating pair of guinea-fowls, who collected some seeds to bring back to his partner and chicks. These birds aren’t as gregarious as the francolins and seldom get close to humans.
In a perfect world, there would only be enough animals that this 3000 hectares of land and vegetation could sustain. But, a reality of this special area is there are more animals that nature can provide for, resulting in many homeowners and visitors feeding them.
Feeding the wildlife is an accepted practice, although controversial, which includes game pellets, Lucerne (hay), and certain “safe-for-them” vegetables and fruits such as sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots, and apples which many of us purchase to feed them on a regular basis, especially during the “lean times,” during droughts and dry weather when the vegetation they need is less prolific.
Kudu and warthog dining in unison.

What’s the controversy? Many of the homes in Marloth Park are rented at certain points to tourists. Let’s face it, they, like us, come here to interact with the wildlife, generally around food which brings them back to our gardens, over and over again. Some feel that by feeding them, we are preventing them from foraging for their own food sources in the vegetation.

We understand this fully. But, after spending a total of 19 months in Marloth Park, over the years, we have seen starving and malnourished animals. If we can supplement their diet to keep them healthy, it is nearly impossible for us animal lovers to resist.

Reaching for a morsel in a tree.

Another question that arises, is, what happens when tourists or homeowners leave the property, the animals return and no one is there any longer to feed them? We worried about this very fact when we left the Orange house in 2019 after 15 months of feeding the wildlife. But, these marvelous creatures aren’t dumb, by any means, and they’ll seek out other tourists and homeowners for food, as well as continuing to forage.

Few of the animals in Marloth Park are carnivores or omnivores and hunt other wildlife for food. An example of this is the mongoose, who will kill and eat snakes when they are resistant to the venom, Ironically, on February 22, 2018, we did a story about carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores found in Marloth Park. Please click this link for details. Also, it’s imperative NOT to feed the animals “people food.” They are unable to digest food other than the pellets and appropriate vegetation, and offering them the equivalent of “junk food” can make them sick or even kill them.

Such an adorable female kudu.

It rained in buckets last night and continues to rain today. Storms are brewing in the Indian Ocean and heading this way. Our garden is a muddy mess. We doubt we’ll see much wildlife until this passes. In the meantime, Tom is outside on the veranda and I am indoors in the bedroom, staying cool and comfortable until this bad weather passes.

It was two years ago today that I had open-heart surgery here in Nelspruit, South Africa. Although I still bear some of the lingering effects of this life-changing, life-saving surgery, I am grateful for the medical care I received in helping me come out on the other side. And, of course, I am grateful to my husband Tom, who provided the best possible care, love, and attention possible, along with our many friends in Marloth Park.

Another adorable face, that of a male impala. These animals rarely come close to humans, so we were pleasantly surprised to see him in the garden.

Have a great day! Stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. Let’s put this dreadful pandemic behind us!

Photo from one year ago today, February 12, 2020.

The city of Shimla, India as seen from the Himalayan Queen Toy Train. For more photos, please click here.

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