This is an update from our charity partner Wild is Life. To learn more about how Love Nature is supporting organisations at the forefront of the global conversation effort, please visit our Make a Difference page.
In late April, Wild is Life received a call from the rangers in Nyatana Wilderness to say they had rescued a Sharpes Grysbok fawn (Raphicerus sharpei).
She had been sighted near the Vombosi camp, at the confluence of the Mazowe and Vombosi rivers. Wild is Life has been funding and equipping elite anti-poaching teams in this remote but magnificent wilderness since August 2015. In a short time, wild animals, including elephants are returning to this magnificent wilderness. As the area has been under serious threat for a while and most wildlife has all but disappeared, we know that every life counts.
The tiny little fawn had been seen while the scouts were on a routine patrol, she was seen on her own near to the camp. She was observed walking towards the scouts and crying out. They did not disturb her in the hope that her mother would return. On the third day of careful and discreet observation, after seeing no sign of a mother they decided to intervene and took the little fawn into their care. She was kept by the rangers at the camp and was very thirsty, evidently and sadly, she hadn’t drunk for some time.
It was not clear what happened to her mother but what is clear is that she was nowhere to be seen and this calf was abandoned and bound for certain death. Due to the promixity to the rangers camp it is unlikely that the mother was directly killed by poachers. Poaching in this area had been rife, before Wild is Life’s intervention. Thankfully, due to the dedicate and hard work of the scouts, most of the poaching has subsided, especially bushmeat hunting with packs of dogs and organised ivory poaching. Nonetheless, the threat remains. In this case we believe the mother may have been caught in an old snare, or perhaps killed by a leopard.
The dedication and compassion of the scouts is hugely admirable. These brave men are what lies between ecological balance and local extinction.
Soon after contacting Wild is Life, a rescue team was arranged and bottles and medicine were packed and prepared. Jos Danckwerts set out with Fidelis Zilaka the next morning. Nesbert Ngawadare, one of the senior rangers, had walked more than 15km from the camp to his village with the precious cargo. Jos and Fidelis met him at his homestead and immediately gave the fawn some milk formula. Nesbert is one of the captains of ranger teams and is based at Vombosi river. From here they manage the whole far Eastern section of the park. Nesbert lives near to the park and has spent his life in the wilderness, and loves wild animals. Experienced in tracking and with a good understanding of community dynamics he is an invaluable member of the team.
Soon after she was driven back to Harare and was placed in the care of experienced antelope carer Assan Pakaenda. Assan has been caring for injured and orphaned animals, specializing in antelope, for more than a decade. Antelope are notoriously difficult to care for in the early stages. Successfully raising any baby wild anaimal requires an enormous amount of patience. Assan was mentored by Roxy Danckwerts, the founder of Wild is Life, who has been raising wild animals for more than 30 years
She has been named Pixie as she is very dainty and shy and comes from the forest. She is a beautiful specimen and has an almost magical appearance and manner. A beautiful shy creature of the forest, a real Pixie!
We are delighted to say that this beautiful creature has picked up and is drinking very well. She is staying in a safe and secluded area at Wild is Life. An enclosure has been constructed in the garden where she lives and plays during the day. The resident Jack Russell, Sophie, and Pixie have made a great friendship.
Pixie will live at Wild is Life, in as natural an environment as possible, alongside other antelopes. Here she will have the space and security to grow into an adult Grysbok and contribute to the future of her species.
Hopefully, when she is older she will be returned to the wild…
Wild is Life has been rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wild animals for 18 years. We remain a family operation and are involved in various elements of conservation. Wild is Life has recently founded Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery(ZEN) alongside Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority(ZimParks), an ambitious long term project aimed at protecting and preserving the African elephant.