Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

October 2017 Shamwari Education Blog

This month has been a busy one - we had seven schools visit us, some bringing more than one group. The St Andrews College for boys and Diocesan School for girls brought their final two groups this month (the first five groups visited last month). They visit us for an afternoon every year. They enjoyed themselves and saw a lot of animals on the game drive learning to recognise wild rhino and elephant droppings, territorial markings and rubbing posts.

St Andrews boys
St Andrews boys
St Andrews junior school
St Andrews junior school

Our next visitor was Ilinge primary school from Uitenhage, which is in the Nelson Mandela bay municipality situated about an hour and a half from the reserve. It is a new school which was visiting us for the second time this year. The learners are from a disadvantaged community and were seeing most of the animals for the first time. During the sanctuary tour they learned about the different cats, like Nelson, and where they have come from. They have seen some animals on TV but it was the first time for them to see these animals in real life. They enjoyed every bit of it and if it was up to them they would come back again.

Ilinge primary school
Ilinge primary school

We had some light showers on the day they came, and I gave them some ponchos as they would not let the rain deter them.

We also had an organisation called The Hope Jones Foundation. The organisation was founded by the Jones family after they gave birth to a baby girl with a Congenital Myopathy which affected all her voluntary muscles, to the extent that she was unable to swallow at birth. She also had a bi-lateral hearing deficit and other physical challenges. The family started the foundation to give hope to families travelling a similar road. They give advisory support to the children and their parents to bring hope into lives at a time when all seems lost. It was the second time for them to visit us and they enjoyed every bit of it.

The Hope Jones Foundation group with Hope in front in the pink with some volunteers
The Hope Jones Foundation group with Hope in front in the pink with some volunteers

The next school to visit was Despatch primary also from Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth. It is also the second time for them to visit us. The learners were so excited when they arrived as last year’s group told them what they saw. They got so excited when I said they may even see more than the other group. On the Born Free tour they got shaken by Nelson’s roar as it was the first time for them to hear a live roar of a lion.

Despatch Primary
Despatch Primary

The next group was Muir College from Uitenhage. They visit us yearly with their grade 4s (8 – 9 years old). This particular visit was extremely rewarding as it allowed us to discuss facilities that breed lion cubs for petting - one of the learners had visited one in the past. We talked about what might happen when the cubs were fully grown and where their mothers were, highlighting that they are wild animals at heart. It is in their nature to travel, stalk and hunt down their prey. They belong in the wild, not in captivity. The learners enjoyed the visit and they were lucky to see all our rescued cats as well as a lot of wildlife on the game drive – reinforcing our earlier discussions.

Muir college
Muir college

Then it was Kingswood College from Grahamstown. They are also our regular visitors with their grade 7s. With all the school groups that visit us we start with a visit to the Born Free centres, unless the weather makes us think otherwise. Our goal is to create awareness and instil a conservation and welfare ethic in our learners and our youth. We also expose them to the consequences of keeping animals in captivity. In contrast we also give them an opportunity to see animals in the wild where they belong and to appreciate the amazing wildlife of our province.

Kingswood college
Kingswood college

The last school was Parsons Hill from the Nelson Mandela Bay. They visit us yearly and the learners are always keen to learn, they are also from disadvantaged communities. They enjoyed the visit and they had a lot of fun with us. With all the schools our main teaching is to keep wild animals in the wild where they belong.

That is what we were up to this month.

Parsons Hill
Parsons Hill

Some of the animals seen on game drive

Wildlife
Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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