Happy baby elephants

In Southern Africa, elephants regularly fall victim to poaching or to conflicts about living space with farmers and villagers. Sometimes baby elephants are left orphaned when their mother is killed – elephants drink their mother’s milk until they are three years old. In Zambia, Game Rangers International rescues, rehabilitates, and releases orphaned elephants back into the wild. The youngest elephants are cared for at the elephant nursery in Lilayi, close to Lusaka. There they receive bottles of milk every three hours and are taken into the bush to learn to vend for themselves. Everyday between 11.30 and 13.00 hrs visitors can watch how the babies are fed – a lovely sight, as you can see in this photograph. When they are a little older, the elephants are taken to Kafue National Park to join other older orphaned elephants, to work towards reintegration with elephants in the wild.

An owl’s tale

Last weekend, a colleague found an owl hanging in a tree. It was strung up by its wings. Later in the day it was gone. Yesterday, we discovered this barn owl sitting in a tree. It was obviously weak and its wing was hanging by its side. Fortunately we got in touch with a someone with some experience in rescuing birds. He was able to catch it and take it to his home to care for it. After drinking and eating, the owl looks much better. Its wing is still hurt, but doesn’t seem to be broken. We hope that with rest and care the owl can be released back into the wild!

I’m happy that we were able to do something for this animal. But a concern remains: Why would someone hang a living owl up in a tree? That just seems very cruel. This situation reminded me of a quote by Albert Schweitzer that a teacher in religious education once taught me: “I am life which wants to live amidst of lives that want to live.” Let’s treat both people and living creatures with reverence!

Praise

Glory to you for the feast-day of life

Glory to you for the perfume of lilies and roses

Glory to you for each different taste of berry and fruit

Glory to you for the sparkling silver of early morning dew

Glory to you for the joy of dawn’s awakening

Glory to you for the new life each day brings

Gregory Petrov

Dream tree

When we had just moved to Zambia, people often asked us: What is it that you miss most? The presumed answer – I guess – was ‘my family’ or ‘that the power stays on’ or ‘pindakaas’. What I used to answer, however, was trees. I missed the trees I grew up with. Trees here, they have another shape. Their leaves are just not right. Their bark is different. Maybe that’s why I like to play around with my photographs of trees: to highlight the sense of not-belonging that they give me.

Golden silk orb-weaver

The golden silk orb-weaver is one of the largest spiders in our garden. The large female weaves a strong, yellowish web and catches anything that finds itself entangled. The much smaller male doesn’t need a lot of food, but I’m sure he shares every now and then.

Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Zebra love

We encountered a group of zebras standing on the road. After waiting for a while, a second group arrived. In this photograph zebras from the two groups meet and greet each other. Such affection and love!

Photo taken in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa