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And now, back to the news:
One of the places I was most looking forward to visiting on our trip was Munda Wanga. We used to visit this park all the time when we lived in Lusaka (the capital city) because it was fairly close to our home and was reasonably affordable. For about $2 per person we could go and spend the day in beautiful botanical gardens or wander through the smallish zoo. The little restaurant served cheap snacks and it was a really relaxing way to spend a day.
Since our visits there the zoo has grown quite a bit with a bunch of new animals added. I've had the opportunity to visit it a couple times since we moved--taking visitors there--but Tom and the kids hadn't been there since 2004.
All photos for this post were taken by Tom as I wrestled the baby's stroller over the gravelly roads. Plus, he's just better at it.
We saw the usual animals like these impala which were nice but they're everywhere.
The warthogs were nice (in a very ugly way) and so very African. Sing it with me now: "Hakuna Matata--What a wonderful phrase!"
I can't see zebras anymore without thinking of Madagascar. They look comical and cartoony now.
These African Wild Dogs were favorites for Tom and Jasmine. Tom said they're different and not one of the usual suspects in a zoo or wildlife park. Jasmine liked the noise they make.
I love the mongooses and they were favorites for T.J as well.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a famous story about a mongoose. I will send an Zambian greeting card to the first person who can tell me who wrote this story.
The monkeys were favorites with all our kids but Timmy really enjoyed this baboon. Here he is pictured with T.J but earlier he had shaken Timmy's hand. It got a bit scary when he refused to let go and then bared his teeth. Monkeys are very strong.
There was a big colony of vervet monkeys also. There are a bunch of new ones that are in the process of being reintroduced to the wild after causing problems at the Zambian State House. One monkey even urinated on the president's head during a press conference causing great embarrassment.
Since we have our own vervet monkey we know exactly how mischievous they can be.
Speaking of mischievous, when my teenage son saw how close this ostrich was to the fence he talked about how fun it would be to wrap his hands around the neck.
I've seen these lions on many occasions (including feeding days where the lions come charging over the hill to leap onto meat placed near the fence) but it never hit me until this particular day how very very large they are. They are huge!! It's easy to think of lions as just big cats but they are definitely wild animals.
Interesting fact here: they can't keep more than one male in a pride or they will fight all the time so they castrated one of the males which caused his mane to fall out. How sad is that?
And now for a very interesting story:
Around this time last year some people brought a box to our gate with little cubs of some sort. They looked like baby foxes or wild dogs. We didn't know what they were. We fed them milk and kept them in our shower room but knew that they were not the sort of animals we could add to our menagerie.
On one of our shopping trips to the main city--Mansa-- 3 hours away, Tom dropped the little cubs (now identified as jackals) off to the Zambian Wildlife Association (ZAWA). They were very excited since almost no one rescues animals in this part of Zambia. They encouraged Tom to file paperwork to become a wildlife officer.
ZAWA's Mansa branch later told us how happy they were that we dropped off the jackals since that meant they had something to write in their 'activity report' for that quarter. When Tom paid a visit to ZAWA's headquarters in Chilenge they said, "Oh, you're the jackal guy". Tom is working with ZAWA to establish a type of reptile habitat up here for people to view. (More about this another time).
Anyway, on our trip to Munda Wanga we saw that they had jackals and wondered, "Could they be ours???" Sure enough, they were! Look at toward the bottom of this page to see more about them.
It was so exciting to see how our small rescue efforts in this area of Zambia are making a difference.
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