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
Your donations are now helping us feed even more animals!
As of today, DAKTARI has 83 animals in our camp that you are supporting. The start of baby season means that number is likely to grow! Thankfully, many of the babies that we raise are able to be released back into the wild.
We welcomed three new animals to DAKTARI in September. The first new addition was a baby nyala from the neighboring game reserve, Makalali. The rangers at the game lodge saw that the baby was alone for a full night, which is very unusual if the mother is still alive and caring for the baby. The next morning they called us to see if we could take her in. Of course, we said "yes!" having raised two nyalas last year. We brought her to camp and named her Poquita.
She is being bottle-fed by our volunteers and staff and growing every day. Our volunteers have definitely fallen for her and battle every day for the chance to feed her. We are very optimistic that Poquita will survive and be released back into the wild once she is weaned.
Two days after Poquita's arrival, our students found two mice on the floor of their bathroom and ran to tell us! Just the fact that they told us about the small animals and wanted to make sure they were being cared for, is a sign of the impact of our teaching program on their attitude towards animals. Our animal manager, Willington, went to take a closer look and found that the mice were actually two baby squirrels! There was no sign of the mother and we believe she died just the day before. We took the babies in and began to feed them and warm them up.
The brother and sister were watched day and night by our volunteers. Unfortunately, the male squirrel did not survive following the fall. The sister, however, is doing very well and will also be released in the coming weeks! She was affectionately named Aria after the Game of Thrones character, as she is a survivor.
Our final arrival was not a baby at all! DAKTARI often works closely with the other animal rehabilitation programs in the area, most notably Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre outside of Hoedspruit. They called DAKTARI just a couple of weeks ago and asked if we had room for another eagle. Moholoholo has already donated three eagles to DAKTARI but we were eager to take another ambassador! The Wahlberg's eagle was rehabilitated at Moholoholo after being injured but is no longer able to fly, and so he cannot be released. Therefore, he will join our other eagles in an enclosure to serve as an ambassador to the children who visit DAKTARI. We are excited to welcome him and have named him Donnie!
The next few months will likely bring the arrival of more animals and more opportunity for our volunteers to take on animal care. Check out the volunteering link below if you want to join us for baby season!
We are ready!
DAKTARI is very excited to tell you that we've upgraded our solar panel system with the help of YOUR donation!
With help from other sponsors and grants as well, we were able to fund a new solar panel and solar battery system to power our camp. The new system has far more capacity than the old one and we no longer need to rely on generator power at all!
Not only are we fully solar, we have more power now than we did before. This will allow us reliably have lights and power at night and during the day. We will also be able to purchase cheaper appliances because our system is more flexible than the old one. The savings from our new system will add up quickly!
Since the new system has been installed, we will be closing this project on GlobalGiving. In the future, we may need more funding for upgrades or to replace the batteries in several years, so keep an eye out for ways to continue supporting us!
Thank you for your support! We could not have done it without you!!
With all our love,
P.S. If you are interested in supporting our other programs, check out the links below!