Dear Friend of DAKTARI,
As the year is almost finished, all of us at DAKTARI would like to simply thank you for your support during the year 2018.
We welcomed 333 children for a week of environmental education, 40 youths for the job hunting program, assisted our eco clubs the whole year around with extra lessons/experiences about conservation. Numerous animals from squirrels, bushbabies, bushbucks, to even sable antelopes and a buffalo have been looked after, with some rehabilitations or permanent integration to the wildlife orphanage.
The year was full of joy with the children and emotion with the animals. We faced many challenges and got over most of them.
Our achievements were possible thanks to your support, so our success is also YOURS!
We wish you a wonderful festive season and will keep you updated on our progress in 2019.
Lots of love and esteem.
Few news happened in October for DAKTARI and the community!
First, on Sunday, October 7th the Outreach Management Team met with The Oaks Taxi Association board to roll out a new waste management program. Daktari supplied large plastic bags, donated by Lowveld Packaging that will be put in each local taxi to discourage riders from throwing rubbish out of the taxi windows. This is all in an effort to make The Oaks a cleaner, better place for their residents and visitors alike.
On October, DAKTARI and the Anti-Poaching Unit of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) went to three local high schools (Maahlamele, Rakgolokwana and Leoma) to discuss the terrible crime of poaching and to do an anti-poaching demonstration..
Approximately 900 students were present to meet Simon, Corlet and their Belgian Shepherd. Simon first explained what poaching is to the students. He then discussed the importance of the Anti-Poaching Unit, their responsibilities and how they use dogs to track and hunt down poachers.
After a period of questions and answers, it was time to show the students how these well trained dogs do their job. Corlet put on a padded suit and the dog was ordered to run after her and stop her from fleeing. The students were very excited to see the dog in action! We all hope that this impressive performance will prevent students from entering or participating in this cruel, unlawful practice.
At Rakgolokwana High School, Carol from the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit was there as well. She introduced the students to the mission of the Black Mambas and invited the female students to join her group after graduation.
Finally, they also have an elephant coloring program and we have asked the 7th grade students of the Diphuti Primary School along with DAKTARI’S Eco Clubs to participate. This program consists of presenting facts about elephants and the terrible poaching of these incredible animals. The children will then color in the drawing of an elephant and write a message about what they have learned. The best, colourful drawing and powerful message will win a prize and the picture will be featured at different places. On the 18th of October DAKTARI and HESC choose 4 winners and give them prizes. Then, they reminded the children that poaching is a terrible crime and it was their responsibility to join in the fight against it.
Every Friday, our volunteer teachers pick the weekly winner amongst the children that participated in our Environmental Education programme. As the most participative, respectful, involved, and curious students, the winners receive a gift along with a small tree to plant in their village. Every two to three months, DAKTARI also prepares a special treat for our weekly winners, so this September we took 10 most promising children from our education programme on a trip to Tshukudu Bush Camp for a day of exciting safari adventures.
Tshukudu Bush Camp is famous for its very human-friendly cheetah that was born in Tshukudu to her mother that was brought to the game lodge by the police after finding her being hand-raised in an apartment. When her 3 cubs were only six months old, the mother died and the cubs were hand-raised by the lodge staff in order to survive without their mother. The three cubs eventually grew up, but despite being free and not losing their natural instincts to hunt, they remain very friendly towards people. The children were excited to meet the famous cheetah and were even able to pet her. They also went on a safari drive, where they were happy to see two big white rhinos, giraffes, hippos, and other wild animals they don’t normally get a chance to see. The guide also told the children a lot of interesting facts about the animals, their importance for the environment and the dangers they are facing.
Seeing the sparkles in the children's eyes after a day of fun and adventure gives an extra boost of energy to the work we do and after every trip like this one we are even more determined to inspire the future generations to preserve the precious natural environment.