It started off like any other Monday at DAKTARI, the children going around on a tour, animals being fed and cleaned, optimism in the air for the new adventures of the week that lay ahead. However, what was discovered on the 19th of January, at around 13:00, would rock DAKTARI to its core.
" We would often go visit Shiloweni to see what he was doing, often we would find him patrolling his territory or more recently, up in his tree, taking cover from the heat. Today we were surprised to find him lying in the sun. He would normally have his tail moving or at least move his ears if we approached closer. This time, nothing. We immediately knew that something was wrong " said the two DAKTARI volunteers, Daniel and Anne-Sophie, that found Shiloweni's stiff and lifeless body laying in the grass.
Our leopard was then taken to local veterinary doctor, Peter Rodgers, who has played such an important role in the leopards’ life. He confirmed what we had already suspected, it was a snake bite that had taken the life of this majestic African beast. Even the might and power of this exquisite creature was no match for the deadly venom of a slithering serpent. There was evidence of a fight around his body, with blood and scratch marks present, probably with either a Snouted Cobra or the infamous Black Mamba. Dr. Rodgers then notified us that there has been many snake bite incidents reported in the last weeks. This one, we felt the most.
After the dust had settled, it was time to lay Shiloweni to rest. His grave was dug in the African Bush, which is where he belongs. It was an honour and privilege to be there as Ian, Michele, staff, volunteers and children payed their respects to this fallen giant. It was if a close friend had passed, and that's really what Shiloweni was, someone close to our hearts, a respected member of the family whose presence and majesty was not possible to ignore. He had played such a vital role in inspiring and motivating children and volunteers alike, to stop, and to take notice of the utter preciousness that surrounds all of us. To acknowledge how fragile life can be. Stop, breath, and contemplate this for a moment.
But with every end comes new beginnings, with every heart ache comes hope. Without a doubt, from the rubble of our broken hearts, something fresh and new will emerge from this tragic story.
Shiloweni encapsulated the spirit of what DAKTARI is about, his spirit will live on forever. This evening as the red sunsets, no matter where you find yourself in the world, you can still hear his mighty roar in your hearts.
To all you donors who have given selflessly of yourselves and resources to provide the food and care for Shiloweni, we salute you. This is the end of the story of this leopard, but the Bush School & Wildlife he called home for so many years continues. We ask that you continue to support DAKTARI for it purpose of saving animals like Shiloweni.
Dear GlobalGiving Donors,
Some of you know us personally but others have not had the opportunity to meet us yet.
We, Ian and I (Michele), are the co-founders on site of DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage.
Yesterday, 31st of December, I went again through the list of our donors to check that we did not forget to thank anyone.
The list was long and I realised how many people you are, helping and trusting us. Being touched about it, I had to take time and think about each of you all!
I want you to understand that behind the description of the project on GlobalGiving, there are also two people with passion for the environment and love for our community. We, and our team, are the ones doing the work and making the impact on your behalf. We deeply thank you for choosing DAKTARI as a beneficiary.
Your donation (s) have been very important to us in 2014 and this is why I finished the year thinking about each and every one of you.
When I woke up this morning, believe it or not, I was thinking of you again. Although I wanted to stay in bed, I needed to share my feelings with you and write my gratitude. It is important to explain in simple words how meaningful you are to us. Basically, you kicked me out of bed!!!!
Thank you for being who you are. Your generous support makes it possible for our organisation to exist and to make the community a great place to live.
Remember that to us your donation is much more than a click, and we are looking forward to your support in 2015.
All the best to you, very dear donors.
Another great year is coming to an end and all the animals and everyone at DAKTARI wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2015!!
No words can describe how grateful we are for your help and support. We could not run this Bush School & Wildlife Orphange without you! All these fabulous moments, bush adventures, joy, animals rescued and released, new babies, children's stories, laughs, teaching program... This is thanks to your participation towards a better world.
THANK YOU for being here, involved with DAKTARI and we hope to continue hearing from you Next Year :)
The DAKTARI Team,
Children, Animals, Volunteers, Staff, Ian and Michele.
How are you doing since the last report? Here at DAKTARI, days are full of joy and we go from one surprise to another! The end of the year is around the corner, so let’s finish 2014 off with a bang! :)
For Christmas, join DAKTARI in offering the animals a special festive season! They have been soooo good this year, with many families being raised, so trust me, they really diserve it!
Ohhh, you didn’t know about the new babies? Well, they are SO adorable!
DAKTARI’s animal familly is getting bigger and we are so proud of that. But it also means more fees to provide healthy food and good care for them. 2014 has been such a great year and we are proud of all the rescues, releases, new babies, which all happened thanks to your on-going support! We are so grateful for that.
DAKTARI relies on your generosity during Christmas, so we can continue spoiling all these orphaned animals for 2015! Please donate to our project, share the link on your social media or via email, speak about it to your friends and encourage them to join our cause.
For a memorable Christmas, you can also make a donation on behalf of someone special, and DAKTARI will send you a virtual gift recipient via email to give to them. Don’t miss this great last-minute gift idea and hit the following link: http://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/christmas-gift-sponsor-an-animal/ ! :)
A warm and huge THANK YOU,
DAKTARI wishes you a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year.
Dear Animal lovers,
I am glad to speak with you again and let you know about the exciting news that happened in our camp. I guess that you want to know first if our beautiful leopard is doing well. No need to worry about that, he still enjoys his time with us and thanks to your generous help, he appreciates everyday his healthy food! He doesn’t like to be disturbed too much and likes his independent life, but we are thinking to install a new enrichment device in his enclosure. It will be good to give him more excercise and make his life a bit more interesting… To be continued! I will let you know :)
While Shiloweni rests and hides in his tree, life continues in the camp. First, did you hear that we released our Mongooses? Well, we did! Our 11 Banded Mongooses are back in the wild, after quite a long time being rehabilitated. A success story that DAKTARI is very proud of! CLICK HERE to read the article and watch the video of the release! You will be surprised to see their behavior after opening the door to freedom of their cage…
We had to say Good Bye to our Mongooses, now running free in a new reserve, but we also say Hello to new faces. Indeed, we can say congratulation to… Maxi!! The BushBuck, who comes in our camp when she wants to eat and rest, just has had a lovely baby! At the beginning very shy, Maxi brings him more and more with her and we are so happy to have his presence in the camp from time to time. Check the pictures, you will understand why :)
And last but not least; 2 months ago we had a new arrival: A female Meerkat named Madonna, found abandoned on the road. She now lives at DAKTARI, with Gaspar and Tikki, who were very happy to welcome a new friend. We suspect some future baby meerkats…
Want to know more about our camp? More video, animals, children… Read our latest Newsletter!! You won’t regret it!
To finish, don't miss our new campaign! Christmas is coming and our animals need to be spoiled and loved too, as much as your loved one. DAKTARI has for you the best gift ever! Donate for 1 animal on a behalh of a loved one and receive personalized gifts: certificate, picture, video!! 2 reasons to be happy for Christmas! Hit the link for more details! :)
As always, we are so lucky to have you involved in our project. The animals are happy. The children are happy because they can learn how to take care of all the wildlife around them. We are happy! And I hope that you are also, knowing the role you play in the DAKTARI way of life!
A warm and huge THANK YOU to all of you,
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