DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

The mission of Daktari is to inspire, motivate, and educate underprivileged children to care for their environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage.
Nov 23, 2016

We'll Miss You Ashandy!

Ashandy at her second-to-last Eco Club
Ashandy at her second-to-last Eco Club

It's the end of the year for Eco Clubs, and while the party was fun and exciting, it also means we have to say goodbye to our graduating seniors.  Ashandy, who was unanimously voted the Eco Club president this year, is one of those graduating seniors.  She exemplifies everything we hope to see in an Eco Club member: well-spoken, very polite, always attentive, and a natural leader.  Ashandy has been devoted to the Eco Club since Grade 8, not missing a single meeting in 2014 or 2015!  The new President next year will have big shoes to fill!

We asked the students to tell us a bit more about their Eco Club experience and tell us how to make it better. Here is what Ashandy had to say:

What do you like about Eco Club?

I like the activities and the people we meet and also make friends with the volunteers.

What did you learn in Eco Club?

I learnt to be confident always.  I learnt to respect nature and also to coserve biodiversity.  I learnt to be a leader as I was the eco-club president.

How can you take care of the environment in your village?

By cleaning up the trash.  By building dustbins.  By planting more trees.

How can you take care of animals in your village?

Give them food when their hungry.  Give them a nice cool bath when their dirty.  Provide shelter for them.


After matric, Ashandy is planning to go to college to study tourism and travel, and then off to TUT University to study nature conservation.  We will miss her and wish her all the best! 

Without YOUR generous donations, we wouldn't be able to help students like Ashandy reach their full potential.  THANK YOU!

If you would like to make an impact on another DAKTARI project, we are busy fundraising for our animal care project in December. As an added bonus, donations to all of our projects will be matched at 50% on #GivingTuesday, November 29th, starting at 7am South Africa time. 

Until next time!

Ashandy
Ashandy
Ashandy playing at the Eco Club party
Ashandy playing at the Eco Club party

Links:

Nov 22, 2016

'Tis the [Baby] Season

Perrine, a volunteer, with Kiwi
Perrine, a volunteer, with Kiwi

If you remember my last report, I mentioned that it was the start of baby season in the South African bush. The past few weeks have definitely shown it to be in full swing. 

Our baby nyala, Poquita, is doing extremely well! She has been released from her enclosure and is living in the nearby bush with our other two nyala from last season. She does still come back for her bottle of milk three times a day but she is starting to forage and eat with the other nyala as well. We will continue to keep an eye on her as she grows older but are so thrilled to see her thriving in the bush. 

Just in the past two weeks, we've welcomed a female baby mongoose, two small baby birds, and another little squirrel. We also successfully transferred a baby vervet monkey that was brought to us to the Vervet Monkey Foundation in Tzaneen, South Africa. 

Our baby banded mongoose, affectionately named Kiwi for her short brown fur, is our most popular addition. Since she is still so small, she does not bite like her older relatives. She is incredibly active, often running up and down the couches here at DAKTARI, and she is quite the chatterbox! DAKTARI has 5 other banded mongoose and we will introduce little Kiwi to the family when she is a bit bigger. We hope to release the whole family together once they all learn to get along. 

The tiny baby birds are also keeping us on our toes. They have been tough to positively identify so we must wait until they've grown a bit before we will know what kind of birds they are. Yet unnamed, they are quite the handful. We have been feeding them termites, worms, and porridge every 30 minutes between 6am and 7pm. As you can imagine, it's a full time job!

Our baby squirrel is the newest addition and doesn't have a long story yet, but we'll update you on his progress. 

The other animals at DAKTARI are enjoying the first rains of the season! We are beyond happy to report that we've started to see the rain that we so desperately need. In fact, it is raining as I write this report! With the intense drought we've been experiencing in our area of South Africa, it's a welcome sight. 

It has been mostly good news here and we are excited to announce even more! On #GivingTuesday (November 29th), starting at 7am SAST, GlobalGiving will be matching donations to our project at 50% while funds last. We are asking all of our supporters to help fund our animal care in 2017 by making a donation to this project on November 29th. Your donations will give all 87 animals at DAKTARI a second chance at life. 

Mark your calendars and spread the word!

Our small baby vervet monkey
Our small baby vervet monkey
Poquita getting a bottle
Poquita getting a bottle
Teeny tiny birds
Teeny tiny birds
Oct 20, 2016

Constantly Revising and Improving

Erica and Patience updating the teaching program
Erica and Patience updating the teaching program

DAKTARI opened its bush school in 2006 - making this our 10-year anniversary! 

Some might think that means we have everything down to a science - all the lessons are set in stone and ready to go, every class runs like clockwork, each week is simply repetition. 

This couldn't be further from the truth! While we are far from "winging it", the teaching program gets constant attention. We strive to provide the best experience for the volunteers that visit us and, of course, the children coming to camp. This means that the teaching program needs to be improved all the time.

In the past several months, it has had a lot of work done. From simple statistic updates to completely rewriting lessons, we put a shiny new face on the teaching program. Thankfully, our small staff doesn't have to do it alone! The volunteers that come to DAKTARI and teach the lessons each week are crucial in helping us revise the program.

Recently, some our volunteers found that the Knowledge Hunt lesson, designed to reinforce the animal facts we teach, needed to be enhanced. Instead of filling out a worksheet while walking around the camp, the volunteers designed an intricate, 14-clue scavenger hunt! The kids LOVE it and will often run from clue to clue, trying to be the first team to finish. 

Our bush walk also got a new activity. Normally, the children present facts about different trees that you can find in the African bush while we take our Thursday morning walk. In order the make sure the other students are paying attention, the volunteers added Tree Fact Bingo to the walk. Each child gets a bingo sheet and can only check a box once they can name the tree that corresponds with the fact in the box. It's been a big success and the children are paying more attention during their classmates' presentations! 

As always, we feel very lucky and grateful to have such engaged, excited, and creative volunteers who help make our program better every day. To learn more about joining them, check out the link below!

Until next time, 

The DAKTARI Team

Our teaching program board
Our teaching program board
Everyone headed out for the bush walk
Everyone headed out for the bush walk

Links:

 
   

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