Earlier this year Baye from Free to be Wild reached out for help to save two Serval cats. Here’s what we did.
She lays her ears back and snarls. Ferocious!
Baye laughs as we approach the holding pen of the two Serval Cats ready for release.
The day the Servals came to the rescue center Baye was showing Khumbulane (her right hand man) that it was okay to go into the enclosure to feed them. Well, not so. Baye entered the cage with donated container of live mice. (The Servals were desperately in need of exercise and needed to get used to catching live prey.) She didn’t get far. The two approached in tandem, snarling at her. She dropped the container and retreated. The Servals took care of the mice. Khumbulane laughed and laughed. Needless to say, these first predators at Free to be Wild had a few things to teach their human caretakers.
It was back in August (3 months ago) when Baye reached out for help. Two Serval Cats kept in captivity all their lives were in trouble. The son, who’d brought them home as kittens, was moving away. Mum didn’t want to be responsible for them so she called Free to be Wild. Baye went to evaluate the situation. The animals were not tame at all, but needed to strengthen their back legs, gain some weight and get familiar with chasing prey. After getting a second opinion it was decided they were good candidates for releasing back into the wild. However, the problem was, Baye didn’t yet have a predator enclosure at her center. It was time to build one.
Nikela donated $1,000 which paid for the materials and her staff built the enclosure. She was ready to receive them.
We walked closer to the holding cage. The female kept snarling, while her companion looked on from the top of the small tree. Khumbulane brought their food, zebra meat, ideal for building muscle Baye tells us. Khumbulane opens the gate and tosses the food to one cat and then the other. They grab their ‘prey’ and retreat to separate parts of the enclosure to feed. At that point I’m distracted by someone licking my leg. The sanctuary duiker finds me a tasty salt lick at the end of a hot day.
The Servals have been moved from the large predator enclosure to the smaller one as they are ready for release. All Baye is waiting on is the final permit. The release site, a large game farm, has a special enclosure ready as temporary housing. The Servals need to adjust to the new surroundings. Both Servals will also be fitted with tracking collars, donated by the Tikki Hywood Trust in Harare.
This game park was the second choice for the Servals release. Before a site is deemed appropriate it’s important to know how many other predators are present. In this case the camera trap study showed an existing healthy population of Servals in the first. This made the second a more suitable home for these two.
Baye walks us around the sanctuary to show us what’s new. The progress since last year is amazing. New enclosures, the volunteer house is being built, and most of the animals we saw then have been successfully released. Among these: two zebra, two owls and two bush babies and now the two Servals.
Thanks Baye and Khumbulane for caring and making a difference one animal at a time… Or in this case would it be two? ?
Helping Baye save more wildlife is easy.
Just click the giraffe button.
[100% of your donation goes to the animals]