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Updates are on the way, just that eta is uncertain - traffic jam and problems as listed in our last entry, "Buzz-out. Greetings from Cyber Purgatory". *points to first entry*

Thank you for your patience, and interest, and see you there,
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29 June 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

One of us is a weirdo, so what? We're buddies!

Baby Hippo and his Tortoise nursemaid 5-Cat Style shared the continuing saga of the Owen, the little hippo orphaned by the Boxing Day Tsunami in her entry "Remember the orphaned hippo and the tortoise?". Apparently, there are plans now to rehab the hippo kid to recognise that he needs to widen his social circle beyond Mzee, his tortoise mum/friend.

"So why break up the friendship?

The problem is Owen's size. When he arrived, he was 300 kilograms—about two thirds Mzee's weight. Now he's twice Mzee's size and playful. Owen will eventually weigh between three and four tons, and conservationists are worried he'll accidentally hurt the slow-moving tortoise."

To follow the saga of Owen and Mzee, check out their caretaker's blog on the the Lafarge Eco Systems Web site. Kamunyak the lioness and her Oryx calves I'm reminded of another odd-pairing. Sometime in the last days of 2001, a lone lioness, likely the sole survivor of some mishap that wiped out her pride, sought solace in adopting oryx calves - no, not to eat, but to care for. Despite her best care, the lioness was weakened by starvation (she refused to leave the calf alone and hunt), and a lion from another pride killed her adopted baby. The lionees only had her baby for 2 weeks. She was maddened. She cried and roared -- and disappeared. Then on Valentine's day 2002, she adopted calf number 2. This calf was rescued and returned to her mother. But the lioness went on to adopt a third. I can't seem to find anything else about Kamunyak or her string of oryx adoptions, but I first learnt of her on the documentary: Heart of A Lioness. Apparently, Kamunyak adopted a total of 6 oryx over the year, and then disappeared.
Over the next year, Kamunyak adopts 5 more oryx calves, but none last as long as the first. One dies of starvation, some escape, the last she abandons after just a few hours and it’s found by its mother. Then Kamunyak disappears and no-one’s seen her again. As Saba leaves Samburu she reflects on what she’s seen. Kamunyak has turned nature on its head and mystified the world. She’s moved off into the vast wilderness of Samburu and who knows if she’ll be seen again. But while she remains an enigma to the scientific world, she has become a legend of the people of Samburu. They way they tell the story is that she was barren and that god gave her a child. That one day, she will rise up in front of them as surely as the African sun. But what remains with Saba is the poignancy of her tale. Saba hopes that Kamunyak will beat the odds of a solitary lioness and raise cubs of her own, to return at last to the company of lions.

I also hope Kamunyak did find closure and true solace for whatever inspired her to adopt the oryx babies.

Here's a news-chronology of the oryx-calf adoptions: - The Lioness and the Oryx (note the side-bar, top has stories about the Lion's plight), Surprise in the Kenyan Wild as Lioness Adopts Oryx - Kenyan Lioness Adopts Another Oryx: 1, 2 - African Lioness Adopts Another Oryx, Seeks A Third - Lioness adopts third baby antelope Python and ... hamster?! It's true.
The rat snake, however, refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe. Snake 'befriends' snack hamster
I did not appreciate the morbid innuendo of the zookeepers who named the hamster Gohan though. The TRUE perversities... are the cross-species relations imposed by man. We should leave it to nature to decide and work out these weird and wonderful combinations in the wilderness. What call do humans have, what right, to impose cross-species friendship for profit? In Thailand's Sriracha Tiger Zoo (which I have extremely dim view of), "a farrowing crate entombed a pig who, lying on her side, nourished both her piglets and tiger cubs. Across the hall, another glass room housed a female tiger, who fed piglets adorned in tiger-print costumes. This incongruous display was replicated elsewhere, where enclosures housed tigers, pigs, and dogs together." (source: Too Close For Comfort by Animal Welfare Institute) Is it cute? I think it's monstrous, and even worse of the Zoo to exploit the animals this way. Yup, another notch on the "Zoos are Horrible, Boycott Them!" totem pole. For more ref of zoos and aquarium issues: - THE ZOO PAGES. "Keep Wildlife in the Wild - NOT in high security prisons!!" by Asian Animal Protection Network - Captive Animals' Protection Society - Circuses.com: The Circus is No Place for Animal Abuse - Free Kei the wolf (Originated from Okinawa Zoo Action Project) - Captive Dolphin Awareness Foundation








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