Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home for holidays

Hey everyone,

I've been back in Canada now for over a month and I thought I should put up a little update to say what's going on. Well I have been enjoying just taking things easy and getting into exercise and becoming a vegetarian. This had nothing to do with Africa just a preference and change in lifestyle. Feeling better and very motivated about it.

My time in Zambia was exceptional and wouldn't have enough space in a post on Blogger to describe everything. My highlights were definitely Jordan and my Dad coming for 2 weeks as volunteers. I think everyone should do some kind of volunteer holiday with their family. It's such a great experience and it can be life changing. The other highlight was building relationships with the lions and them getting to know you. Now don't get me wrong we are not sipping tea at the table but when they know who you are a greet you affectionately and have a trust with you it's a remarkable feeling.

I miss the wildlife and just passing wild animals on the road and being outside everyday. It's too cold in this country!! So I will be working to somehow continue with my passion and go back to Africa someday soon. There are no guarantees but that's what i will be working on.

Again thanks for all the comments and reading my blog. It was definitely a touch of home that was with me the whole time I was there.

Thanks and happy holidays! video

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Indian Friends....




Many of you probably already know that I have become goo friends with the neighbours who have introduced me to a lot of Indian culture & cuisine. I have a mission to get all of their recipes from them so I can become an expert Indian chef. I also had the opportunity to participate in a ceremonial celebration where I dressed up in a Sari and everything. I was so beautiful the dances and especially seeing all the vibrant colours that people were wearing...quite the difference to black, white and beige!! Throughout the evening people also come around to give offering which can include baked goods, fruit, snacks which you put into your little bag and take home with you...it kind of felt like an adult version of trick or treating.

We also headed out together to Botswana for a shopping trip. Me and the kids ended up around the pool of one of the lodges for about 2 hours...you can't keep me away from a good poolside. It was beautiful because we were on the river as well so you were able to see buffalo, elephants and warthogs all over the place. I almost bought a pair of shoes that day. I worked very hard at it but I didn't manage to find a good size for myself...it just wasn't meant to be.

You wil also see in the pics my friend Ioosh (pronounced eye oosh). He is an African Grey Parrot that has become a friend of mine when I visit their house. He has even sat on my shoulder one day. I play 'got your beak" with him which is hilarious and he loves it. He chases after me and then when I see him he turns and runs away hiding. I would actually consider a bird like that but they can live up to 70 years or something which is going to be longer than me :)

Well I only have about 12 days left before I head back to the wilds of Canada. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and plan the next step of my new life!!

Cheers..

Vick xoxo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rain...scorpions & spiders




Well today we have the first rain fall since I arrived 5 months ago!! I actually have forgotten what rain feels like. I think my skin will be happy seeing that it's starting to resemble a leather bag from being so dry.

This week most of you will know was quite eventful seeing that I was stung by a scorpion. That hurt like hell. First I didn't know what hit me and I ran to the bathroom because I thought something had burned me. Once I realized I was stung then I went back to see what it was because I needed to know if I should go see a doctor. After seeing the scorpion I knew that it was ok....then I felt the pain just spread up my arm and my lower arm started to swell and turn red. Cara then fed my anti-histamines just in case of an allergic reaction. The next 12 hours consisted of icing the wound and just cringing at the shooting pains up my arm. The next 12 hours I just had to deal with numbness from the elbow to my finger tips...the skin was so sensitive to even touch. After that back to new and like nothing ever happened. See photo of the type of scorpion the stung me...yikes!!

Aside from these lovely events we now have the spiders, frogs, and snakes arriving again. Basically you watch your step wherever you go. My tactic is to try to give them a name that way I feel like they won't come and kill me in the night by jumping on my throat. As you can see creepy crawling scare the bejesus out of me!!

In one of the other photos you will see us creating some behavioural enrichment toys for the lions. We need to create some fun interactive toys for them with materials that are natural only. We have to be able to find the materials in the bush so no man made stuff!!

Well 10 volunteers will be arriving today which is going to make today and tomorrow a little crazy but everything as always will work out.

TTFN

Vick

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Devil's Pool








Well it was time to try something really daring here. My friend Suzanne from the UK is here volunteering for 3 weeks and we decided to try out Devil's Pool. I realized afterwards that I really didn't mention to Suzanne what Devil's Pool really was and I noticed that neither did I until I did it. So basically we went over to Livingstone Island as I did with Jordan and Dad while they were here but you take it up a couple hundred notches. After walking along the edge to take some photos we strip down to our bathing suits and get ready to get in the water. Here is how the explanation went for us....Ok so you need to swim over there through the current (he points away from the edge of the falls) in order to get over there (points more towards the falls). The current is quite strong but just push through and don't panic. I'm sure if you had a camera on all of our faces you would see nothing but panic!! If the current happens to take you grab on to that rope over there that's just 10 meters from the edge of the falls. Afterwards you are going to need to crawl like a crab over these rocks to the point where you will jump into the pool. Needless to say Suzanne turns to me and wonders how she ever trusted her friend to book her on this excursion.

So we jump into the pool or in my case I slide out of fear. They bring you to the edge where a rock wall of about 6-10 inches stands in front of you and going over the Victoria Falls. I didn't think it was possible to dig my nails into rock but it is!! Suzanne pulled muscles in her neck avoiding looking over the edge and fighting the current coming at us. All I can say is that I'm not sure how it is even legal to do this activity. It definitely would not have passed the Lundbeck HR qualifications!!

Anyhow we did survive and proceeded to spend the rest of the day poolside at the Zambezi Sun sipping on some cocktails. I had the chance as well to use my underwater camera which has worked out amazingly.

Other than that it's just lion, lions, lions and elephants...awesome times but only 6 weeks left. Time has gone by so quickly.

Stay tuned....

Vick xoxo

video

Thursday, September 1, 2011

They are released and doing very well...




Well the 6 girls were released on Friday and boy was it a day. The volunteers and staff here worked so hard to have everything ready for the big event. They painted building, removed grass, set up tent & chairs, drinks, food....you name it they did it. It was great to see all of our new marketing pieces arrive too to give it that little extra something :)

The 6 girls were in great spirits and probably a little confused by all the people surrounding their enclosure. Thank goodness the fence was securely built as the girls had their eyes on a few of the kids!! As some speeches were given the girls rested on their front paws as if they were listening as well on how important a step this was for them. All they probably wanted was the gate to open so they could get to the impala that were about 200 meters away.

As the gates opened a great applause from over 100 people roared through the release site. I'm pretty sure all the other animals took off at that point. The girls came out one by one with some doing a little stretching before they left their enclosure. It was quite an amazing to watch and I'm not gonna lie....a little emotional.

Once the girls were out in their 800 acres site we all went off to celebrate. At our Boma we served some cocktails and snacks and mingled with the crowd. I was able to meet one of the Chief and he even invited us to go to his land one day. After everyone left then it was time for the the team to celebrate...and boy did we. Everything went off so well and people were so thrilled with the day that we continued our celebrating well into the morning...or sorry did I say morning...well let's just say I took a nap before starting the next day's work.

Now there is just one part left that I would like to share with you. On the drive to our GM's house at 4:00 a.m. the owner of the company decided he wanted to hear "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. It was like music to my ears. Of course nobody had a copy of this and most people didn't even know what it was but I just said "Don't worry...I got this" In my best country twang I started to sing "The Gambler". Now I wish I could have had a photo of the expression on Mr. Connelly's face when I went through the entire song but I will sum it up by saying he was impressed!! As I was singing he also would tote..."true..so true" or "that's how I live my life". I knew someday that my knowledge of the "the Gambler" would come in handy one day but I didn't think it would be in Africa!!

Cheers everyone :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The days are going fast...







I have now been here for 3 1/2 months and I can't believe how fast time has flown by. I am very lucky to have come when I did because in just 9 days we are releasing 6 our our female lions for good. It will be sad not to be able to go up to their enclosure and touch them but this is so good for them and the project too. The 6 girls being released are Temi, Kela, Kwandi, Loma, Leya, and Rusha. These girls have become skilled hunters and hopefully once we release one of our boys great mothers. It will be their cubs that will progress further in the program in stage 3 and 4 in the future.

With this impending release right around the corner, everyone at Lion Encounter has been working feverishly to get everything in place for the big event. There are government officials, agencies, staff, business associates that will be there for the opening of the gate. I have been working on the marketing side quite a bit for the event. Nicola and I have developed a new banner and flags for displays at the event and for afterwards. I put together the invitation and newsflash to all of our supports which ended up on the website and Facebook. We also have designed t-shirts, sweaters, and new staff shirts for everyone for the special day. It's very tense for everyone but things are working out great. This is so special as it's the first stage 2 to happen in Zambia...who am I kidding I will probably cry!!



I also can't believe it's already been 2 weeks since Dad and Jordan left. It's great to know that they had such a great time and are still telling stories at home. Jordan even told me tonight he is still in contact with some of the volunteers...that's what it's all about. My friend Suzanne that I met last year in Zimbabwe will be here in a few weeks which is going to be awesome. I'm sure we won't get into any trouble at all!! Anybody else wanting to come to Livingstone please do so!!

One of the staff members is leaving in a few weeks to move back to the UK....sad for him but I'm getting a room upgrade!! I will now have a sink in my room....oh the little glories! I get extra storage space as well. I'm not sure how I am going to adapt after by 7 x 7 room I have now.

Well I will share with you a few pics of our release pride....you can follow them on the ALERT page under Dambwa Pride or become a member on Facebook.

As I wrap up this entry know that I think of all of you very much at home and miss you. Please keep in touch either by blog, e-mail, Skype or an old fashion phone call!! Hearing from home simply makes me smile.

Cheers...Vick
xoxo

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Fire....




I have seen forest fires in my life having lived in Labrador but what happened last Saturday was nothing that I have ever experienced before in my life.

Nix (general manager) received a call around lunch hour the our release site was on fire and out of control. The release site is attached to our enclosures for our 12 older lions. Immediately we had to gather people to go help fight the fire but we didn't know exactly how serious it was. Jordan, my Dad and a few other guys were asked to go. We ended up having 2 trucks to I hopped in as well along with some of our staff. It was going to take us about 15 minutes to get there and as we looked on the horizon in the direction of Dambwa we saw the smoke and we knew it wasn't good. The heart rate started to rise and as we approached and then we saw the wall of flames right at the entrance just about 50 meters away from the lions. There were flames to the right and flames to the left and about 7 feet tall. We all jumped out of the truck and received our instructions to go to the left because the right side was under control and the lions were fine. We ran into the bushes with only branches from trees to fight the fire. By smacking the flames and the ground to push dirt onto the fire you can manage to put some of the flames out. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of effort to do so and sometimes it's a lost cause and you just have to wait for it to get to a point in the grass where it's low. I felt like I was in a movie and every once in a while I screamed out Jordan and my Dad's name to make sure they were o.k.

Once that was ok we moved on to another part of the site to try to do a controlled burn to save part of the release site. As we got down there and lit some of the grass the wind changed directions and we were in trouble...it jumped the road and went in the wrong direction. At this point we had to run away from the flames they were so hot. You could feel your skin tingling from the heat. We ended up splitting up unintentionally and now I was with two other guys Cephis and Bernard. I didn't like the feeling of not seeing Jordan and my Dad but I know they were with a bigger group and they would be o.k. but I still worried. The 3 of us tried to beat the fire and control it from jumping another road. It felt like such a losing battle and it was getting us down. At this point we hadn't had any water and we were starting to fade quickly. Cephis and Bernard had also been there a few hours before us so I really don't know how they kept going. I guess it came down to passion...they wanted to save the release site. There were many times where tears started to well up in my eyes just seeing the destruction happing and you felt like it was such a losing battle. There were also 2 of our lions out in the site that we couldn't find which was worrisome seeing that it was burning quickly. We weren't worried about them harming us because there was no way they were going to come close to the fire.

Water finally arrived both for us to drink and try to use some to fight the flames. It was basically a drum of water on the back of a pick-up truck with a hose attached. There are no fire trucks that could get to the site and there are no water bombers that would be helping us. Once we were a little hydrated we started to beat the fire and things seem to start getting under control. By this time I was also back with Jordan and Dad which gave me a sense of relief that everyone was o.k. All of sudden a call came in that a fire was right beside the lion enclosures and only about 10 meters away from them. I have never in my life seen such an amazing example of team work! At one point Richard (other GM) said if we wanted to leave we could but of course everyone stayed. 6 hours later as the sun started to set and things started to seem controlled.

It a weird way it looked beautiful as the sun set and the glowing embers twinkling through the grounds. We found out that about 40% of the site burned down. It was going to be o.k. though and by next year those areas will be back to life again filled with grass and food for the wildlife. We have about 65 wildebeests, 5 zebras, 70 impala and 7 puku and of course our 12 beautiful lions and they all seemed fine. The lions had been found as well and they were enjoying themselves at another end of the site.

There were definitely some scary moments and at times I felt like I was in a movie. You would see people just standing in the middle of black or us on our knees trying to catch our breath with flames just a few meters away from us. I would do it all over again though because we all know as a team we saved that site, those animals and also the neighbouring farms that it could have spread to very quickly. I am very proud of everyone that day!

If you are interested in finding out more about the release coming up you can visit ALERT - African Lion Environmental Trust. You can even made a donation to support the project.

Thanks....:)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dad's Day & Cultural Day







Well I have a lot to write about but I don't want to put it all in one entry because I can't fit all the pics at one time that I want to show you. So I will start with Dad's big day. We had bought some excursions for my Dad's birthday in June that included breakfast by the Falls and a helicopter ride. Now when I say "breakfast by the Falls" I mean it!! We actually took a 5 minute boat ride heading directly at Victoria Falls....one of the 7 wonders of the world. Where were heading towards is a 110m drop over the edge. It seemed a bit risky but felt comfort in that they do this everyday so we should be fine. When we got to the island they brought us on a tour where we literally stood on the edge of the Falls. I would like to add here that there are no barriers between you and let's just say heaven. We actually walked in our bare feet as well because it's too slippery and wet to be in shoes. I have to say that it was one of the most amazing and yet scariest things that I think I have ever done! They gave us some history of the area and and we stood on the edge of 3 different places. After that they washed our feet for us (felt like I walked out of a spa) and then served us a beautiful eggs benedict breakfast.

Next we went for some market shopping where I intervened with my..."No no no...that's too expensive" for the boys and we slipped in a little cocktail before heading off to our helicopter ride. Now Jordan and I have never been on a helicopter so this was very exciting. We took the 30 minute tour which included a ride through the white water rafting gorge....that was simply amazing!! We were only about 10 meters off the ground going through it twisting and turning. That was definitely an adrenaline rush. We also had a beautiful ride over Victoria Falls and the Mosi oa Tunya National park where we say hippos, elephants and giraffes form they sky. We ended the day with one more cocktail by the water before heading home....exhausted from too much fun!!!

On Friday we had our cultural day where we go and spend most of day on one of the farms of a local. We actually go to Fred's house who works for Lion Encounter. We started off where the men and women are separated to do different work. Us women had to go a fetch the water that was needed for the day and the men had to go chop down tome trees to help build a new room on the farm. We actually had to carry the water on our head on the way back which was about a 15 minute walk. Next the women had to start to prepare lunch which consisted of chicken, shima and cabbage. Shima is looks like mashed potatoes but it is a corn based powder that mixed with water becomes and thick, dense mixture. They use this to actually eat with as well instead of a fork or spoon, It's not high in nutritional value but it's definitely filling. While we were cooking the men worked very hard on digging holes so that they could put the logs into the ground to start the foundation of the house.

Once the food was ready it was time to wash the mens hands for them...that's right we had to go around to pour water over their hands to prepare them to eat. Once they were ready I had to serve my Dad first then Jordan....oh yes I didn't mention yet that I need to do this on my knees and then clap at the end to show a sign of respect!! It was o.k. though because they knew I was a one time deal!! After we eat too and then go around again to wash their hands again. We also had the opportunity to taste their local beer that is made from scratch..let just say it's an acquired taste!

Next we went to visit a man a few farms away that is a blacksmith. He makes axes, spears for hunting and many other items out of old metal he finds at the scrapyard. The boys participated a it to stoke the first while he heating the metal. It was a very cool thing to see. To finish of the day we danced!! Jordan and Dad got right into it and kicked up their heels with some of the ladies. It was really cool to hear some of their traditional songs and participate in their dances. This was a very cool day that people would never get to experience when staying a one of the big hotels...awesome experience.

Well enjoy the pics. Next entry will be about the bush fire. I need a whole new page for that one!!

cheers!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chobe






I have to start off this blog entry by stating that Rwanda, our 2 year old male lion, is roaring in the background. I never grow tired of that sound even if it's 4 a.m.

Well last weekend me and the boys and two other volunteers from Lions headed out to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Everyone had built it up so much that I was afraid that I was expecting too much of it. Well it was all that and a bag of potato chips!! I've never seen so many animals within 2 days in my life.

We started out the day by grabbing a shuttle to the Botswana border and then a safari truck picked us up on the other side to head to our first game viewing. The first game drive was by water. It was so amazing to see elephants crossing the rivers and hippos by the dozen all grouped up together. We saw many crocs and one even had a huge fish in it's mouth that it had just killed. I wouldn't even be able to describe the colours of the birds here, they are just amazing. At one point we even saw a 1 meter snake crossing the river. After about three hours we headed back to shore for lunch and had a little downtime to relax.

Next on the agenda was our first game drive on land. As we enter the park we see some warthogs...always a funny scene. What was the second animal, oh just a leopard. Apparently it's rare to see a leopard since there are so few left in the wild but we managed to see it twice over the weekend. At one point of the drive I swear there must have been about 250 elephants around heading towards the water. At one point on one of the drives an elephant was about 5 feet from Jordan. Then came the moment of the day for me when we turned a corner and there laying in the middle of the road was a male lion about 15 months old. I literally couldn't speak....I just pointed. We were so luckily to also see 5 cubs sitting all together waiting for their mothers to get back from hunting. 200 pictures later and we were on our way. There were so many giraffe, kudu, ginny fowl (very funny birds might I add), warthogs, puke, sable, impala, hippos, and I won't start to try to list the birds although one is called a Bastard!! I didn't giggle at all when they told me that!!

That night we arrived at camp around 6:30 to a nice bonfire to warm us up. Yes we tented it in the wilds of Africa!! They had an amazing supper for us and we struggled to stay up past 7:30. I'm not going to lie...Jordan and I were the first to bed :) We read for a while and then I pitched a fit when I found a spider crawling across my pillow. Poor Jordan had just fallen asleep when I yelled for him to take care of it...apparently I made it a little more dramatic then necessary!!

Then next day we were up at 6:00 and off on another game drive. We were to happy when we saw the leopard again and another family of lions. After a few hours it was back to camp where we had some food, some rest time and then back home. Everyone should do something like this at least once in their life...please add it to your list.

Enjoy the photos...good night. xoxo

Monday, July 25, 2011

The boys are back in town...




Hey everyone,

So the boys have arrived! They have been hear almost a week but things have been so busy that I hadn't had a chance to write anything. There is much to write about now though.

As we were driving back to Lion Encounter we came up on 7 wild elephants just on the side of the road. I'm not sure they realized for the first few seconds that these were indeed wild. So the day they arrived we all went on their first lion walk with the 2 Z's (Zaria & Zamfara). I was so great to see their expressions when they we able to touch a lion for the first time. By the end of their first day they say lions, elephants, giraffe, baboons, vervet monkeys, a croc and some hippos....not bad for a first day.

On their second day that had a the great opportunity to feed some of our big lions up in Dambwa. Jordan had to carry a leg in while my Dad took a head of a donkey to feed. Now that lions clearly are put into a holding area while they put in the meat so when they finally open the holding area door it's something to see adult lions just tearing at the meat until nothing is left but some white bone.

They have also done the tour of town and many other activities so things are going great and they are both loving it. Jordan has gone out with the young ones as well but Mom is here to ensure he stays in-line!!

We went to Chobe National Park this weekend but that will be for the next entry!! so many photos...so little space on these pages.

Take care everyone...

Vick xoxo

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The excitement is growing...





Well it's just 6 days before Jordan and my Dad get here so planning has begun. I was able to bid on a trip into the Chobe National Park in Botswana in a silent auction and won the bid so off we are going to Chobe. There will be a birthday for Dad as well but I will keep that quiet to no secrets are revealed!!

On elephant research these days we are seeing two females very pregnant and about to give birth. Now the odds of us seeing the birth is very slim but we are hoping that once she has the babies we will see some very young elephants. She is so big that she is staying around the area so it's a very exciting possibility. You can see her here in the picture. Elephants actually carry their babies for 2 years before giving birth and a baby elephant is about 200-250 kgs at birth....that would make me take birth control!!

As I sit here in the office I recognize some of the differences in my office environment. Right now I am sitting on the edge of the chair because Bug the cat is sitting on it as well and I wouldn't want to disturb him. Also at times we get a knock at the door or should I say a scrape at the door because Simba or Trevor would like to sit in the office with us. It's crazy but I love it!!

I had a crazy moment the other day when me and a velvet monkey started to play a game together. When I came out of the office he (remember how we know it's a male velvet monkey!!) was standing about 10m away from me. We just stood there staring at each other and then I decided to see how he would react to me. So I squatted down and then he followed...then I stood up and he followed. This went on for a few minutes until he changed the game to I going to hide behind this palm and play peek-a-boo with you. It was awesome and now Likando tells me...Vicky there are monkeys outside!!

I stayed over at the general manager's house this week with Cara because they are on vacation. The picture you see is one of my new friends Atlas. He was very curious to see what I was doing on the computer. Also, I ended up helping out on my day off with a puppy that was found outside of someone's house in town. It was shivering, dehydrated and had fleas. The girls managed to kill the fleas with some powder and the rest of us worked on giving it water, food and warm cuddles. The vet came by to attend to it as well and it seems that the puppy is doing very well now.

Well that's all for now folks...stay tuned and I'm happy to hear I have some new followers...Luc!!

Cheers

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What a week...




Well there are few stories over the last week. On my day off this week I went out with Cara, Anant & his niece and nephew to the big tree, Zambiezi Sun and the Croc Farm. The big tree is well...a big tree but you can climb up on it and have a great view of the falls and you can see over into Zimbabwe. We sat up there and had a few drinks before moving on to the Zambiezi Sun for lunch. After lunch we were off to the Croc Farm where we saw some massive crocs but the highlight was actually holding one that was 1 1/2 years old. There are still small but can do some damage to fingers!!

Now on Monday we headed out on elephant research which is normally just a beautiful ride around the park where you see a lot of animals and hopefully you find elephants. Well that day was a little different. As we going along a very narrow road deep in the bush we heard some people on the other side of the water banging pots and then we heard a trumpet of an elephant so off we went. Along the way out of the area we were patrolling some people noticed 2 people duck down along the riverbed. Well as you may remember we always have a scout with us from the Zambia Wildlife Authorities so we halted the truck and the chase began. The whole time the rest of us just watched from the truck to what was going on. One of the guys started running so the scout shot in the air which did not stop him but it did stop his friend. He was yelling to stay down and had the riffle cocked. Needless to say at this point the heart was racing. Before I go on here you need to know that illegally fishing is seen as poaching and the punishment is sever here for that. Although we don't usually think of fish in that manner they have to treat it the same as if they were killing a buffalo or an impala illegally. The law is the law here. So back to the story....at this point the guy keeps trying to take off so the scout holds him down and grabs a branch from the tree and starts to whip him on the back. He then let him go and the guy took off in terror. I have to say that I was shocked by this but after thinking about it what the guy was doing was illegal and technically if someone runs after doing something illegal the scouts have a right to shoot so this guy was lucky he got away with only a branch whipping.

So was the day over....no way. We then made it over to the area where the elephants were which was a lodge that consisted of small cabins and tents. We found the elephants and the owner said he was ok with them being there but then the scout convinced him that he should fire off some rounds in the air to scare them away from the area because it was dangerous for the visitors. Well he shot in the air and all the elephants started to run into the tent area and then the scout ran down that way and shot again. The elephants proceeded to just run back to the original area. You can guess what happened next...that's right he ran back and shot again and the elephants went back to the tent area. This went on for a good 20 minutes which just started to get embarrassing. With all of the shooting it also intrigued the guests and they all started to come to the area and some followed the scout while drinking beer. At no point did these people think that these are 12 large wild elephants that can kill them in 2 seconds. Anyhow after 20 minutes the situation was finally under control and we proceeded home. That was definitely the craziest elephant research I have been on.

On a softer side, I had about 15 students and 4 teachers come for a visit this week so I put together a lesson with the help of the lion handlers and guides to talk about the importance of conservation and helping the lion population. It was really cool to see the students go from the typical I'm bored look to fascinated and full of questions by the end. After the quick lesson for about 20 minutes we took them over to see our 2 year old lions and then the cubs. I was able to get them to the fence so some of them could touch a lion and one even let me lift her paw so I could show them how big their claws are. They were so thrilled that one girl even sung a song for me at the end. It was a great day and I'm hoping to work with some more school children this month.

Anyhow that's all for now and sorry no pictures of my eyebrow waxing Amy!!

Cheers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

June News Letter







So I made it into the newsletter this month which you can read by either clicking on the link below or copy and pasting the link in your internet page. This is a great newsletter to subscribe to to see all the action going on with ALERT.

http://www.lionalert.org/documents/newsletters/Newsletter-June-11.pdf

As for me...well I'm the older one of the group except David Youldon and I are only 5 months apart and I think it's starting to hurt!! Keeping up with 20 year old is a tough job but I guess someone has to do it. We went out for cocktails and prawns on Friday night and didn't get home very early!! Up at 6:00 the next day to work though....I still have the work hard...play hard attitude!!

I decided to treat myself to a little spa time at one of the big hotels. I was able to get local pricing seeing that I am working here so 1 hour hot stone massage, 1/2 hour indian head massage and eyebrow plucking was only $80. The problem this morning when I woke up is I realized that the redness that I had around and between my eyes was not temporary....I have lost skin!!! Needless to say I am wearing a hat and glasses today to mask myself but that doesn't stop Cara from asking me to take off the hat to have a good chuckle and tell everyone to come look at it. Live and learn!!!

We also had a BBQ in India on Saturday night. Richard (general manager) actually caught 4 tiger fish right from the dock so that was added to the menu and it was delicious. In the background there were hippos keeping us entertained by making calls and popping out of the water every now and then. One actually tried to come up on shore just a few feet from us which is where we were eating but the dogs managed to scare it back into the water.

Ele research last week proved to show that we have a lot of elephants now migrating back into Zambia for the winter. At one point we nearly became trapped between a heard of 21 elephants which can be very dangerous. Luckily our driver was quick to maneuver us out of the way. One elephant gave us a clear warning to not get any closer or we would have to contend with him (see photo). One bachelor elephant that we saw decided to swim across the river. He was quite hilarious because he kept bobbing up and down and blowing water from his trunk. He seemed to be having a great time on his own.

I had a great lion walk the other day with Dendi and Damara. They are sisters about 8 months old and they are becoming quite adventurous and we are starting to see their hunting skills develop quickly. They were even so bold to stalk a adult giraffe the other day. I think we saw the giraffe laughing but we won't tell the girls. I did however have a great time with Damara because she is very inquisitive and likes to play. Some of the photos are of her by the river, playing in the water and with her sister Dendi. It's actually quite rare to see a lion with their full head in the water so it was fantastic to witness it in person.

Alright I'm off now....take are everyone...miss you all lots.

Vick