Uganda Wildlife Education Center - Entebbe, Uganda.
I keep thinking things are going to slow down and I won’t have so much to share and can ease up on the posting. But instead I’m falling behind. Let’s begin with the random fact that I tried raw sugar cane for the first time … it’s a very fibrous plant and you just suck the juice out of it. Delish! Next, I should let you know I may have to revise my bride price yet again. Now I’ve gotten an appraisal at 100 cows and 50 goats even in spite of my deficiencies.
And now a baby elephant! A rescued tot … he was found in the wild separated from his mother and family. The people who found him believed him to be permanently orphaned, so they brought him to the UWEC. Most of the animals here are rescued animals. Only a handful have been born in captivity. This little fellow is so hairy! I’ve never seen such a shaggy elephant. He’s simply precious, so teeny tiny. He is in quarantine for now at the vet clinic. They built a little stick pen for him inside the courtyard of the clinic building. Yesterday they brought in a truckload of sand for him to play in … he relished his little sand box and loved rubbing his face and body into it as hard as he could. They take him for walks across the road into a field for him to eat some leaves and grass. I’ve seen them cross the road, and it’s just adorable this tiny elephant trundling behind the keeper into the jungle. I hope I can spend more time with him getting some more photos.
That’s the stuff! Getting good and sandy…
His little legs and little feet just kill me. So cute!
Love how he trundles around the courtyard so tiny, poor sweet little orphan.
Look at the crazy whiskers sticking out along his trunk!
I know you’re wondering about the title of this post. What do I mean by chimpanzees at last, when I’ve been working with them since day 1. Well, what I mean is that it takes awhile to truly connect, and each day is more meaningful than the last, until you feel you have jumped a level in understanding and connection. Like any kind of relationship, I suppose.
You might think that the more you know somebody /something, the more you can say about them, that you will stack up more and more words and descriptions until you can paint them inside another person’s head with your words. But this is not the case. The deeper you know another, the more words fail. This knowledge bypasses the verbal command center into far deeper recesses of our brains, hearts and souls. Up to now I’ve been able to describe to you what I’ve done and how fun it is, how cute the chimps are, my feelings of joy, and a narrative of their behaviors and actions. And I’ll continue to do so, but now you should know that is no longer the extent of my personal interaction with these creatures, but I can’t explain it further than I have. I’ve watched them for hours now both on their island and in their nighttime cage. Watched them individually and as a group and as individual smaller social units, watched them in solitude, while playing, while stirring up trouble. I’ve held their hands and feet every day, fed them directly every day, scratched their backs and their heads and rubbed their ears, looked in their eyes inches from mine, let them wrap their warm soft lips around my fingers and suck them. Maybe that’s all I need to say.
I visited the 2 toddler chimps being held in the vet clinic. The aim is to introduce them to the rest of the chimps, but the integration process begins by putting the little ones in a separate cage from the troupe, with the 2 cages facing each other so first they can simply see one another, but right now the 2 baboons are taking up those cages. So until they can be moved, the chimp toddlers have to stay at the clinic. I have what I think is a cute series of photos of one them playing with a tin bowl … will try to get up soon. (a fair number of photos to size and post...) A couple pics of the toddlers:
Taking after Onapa ... all about the casual leisure pose.
Have you ever seen a chimp's foot up close? It looks so much like a hand! And has just as much dexterity.