It’s been a whirlwind few weeks since I last posted, with many changes since then. Let’s see, where to start…
After a lot of thought, I decided to go with the original idea for my internship of spending time in three of the lion project locations: Antelope Park, Victoria Falls, and Livingston. So I just wrapped up two months at Antelope Park in the centrally located area of Gweru, Zimbabwe, and now I am back in Victoria Falls in western Zimbabwe for a couple of months. After this I will visit the Livingston, Zambia lion project for a couple months to wrap up my six months internship.
During the last two months, I’ve spent most of my time helping care for the lion cubs that are now all about 5 months old. My days have included things like making formula, meat preparation, cub feedings, adult lion checks and medications, enclosure cleaning and maintenance, and also elephant checks to mix things up.
Four of the lion cubs were chosen to be transferred from Antelope Park to Victoria Falls, soon to replace the existing four sub-adult lions here, two of which are already retired from day walks, and the other two that are about to be, where they will hopefully be eligible for night encounters back in Antelope Park as part of the next phase of the program. So I came with the cubs on Wednesday, and of all the things I didn’t think I would do in my life, transporting little precious lion cubs in Africa was on that list, nevermind driving for the second half of the journey. It was bittersweet in that they will be very missed by all the people in Antelope Park until they see them again, yet I know they will do well in Victoria Falls and be very well cared for by everyone here, including myself for the next couple months.
Right before I left Antelope Park, I was getting very tired and came down with what seemed like the flu, with fever and body aches, and then I remembered that I had this mysterious bite or something on my abdomen that had just appeared around the same time, so I suspected I actually had tick bite fever from my research, and a trip to the hospital on Tuesday confirmed that I do indeed. So now I’m on a regimen of antibiotics, an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-histamine. I had a pretty good day yesterday, but the antibiotics have taken a toll on my stomach, so I rested today and switched the type of antibiotics that I was taking to a better and more effective one for this type of illness. Definitely not something you ever want to get, but I’ve also been way sicker, so I’m lucky that it’s been fairly mild compared to some people’s accounts.
I’m still determined to figure out a way to see a little bit more of Africa before returning to the States, specifically the Serengeti, Masai Mara, and Ngoro Ngoro area. I’ve heard great things about all three, and that would wrap up my time nicely. Still just an idea at this point, but then again, that’s how I’m rolling these days: One dream at a time.