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The Owls, The Lions And The Bushfellows Story

July 23, 2013 DESTINATION No Comments Email Email

In 1999, the Van Den Berg family purchased Bushfellows, a game lodge in the Marble hall / Groblersdal region of the Limpopo Province, South Africa to fulfil a desire to contribute to protecting our wildlife heritage.

The reserve is already home to 16 species of plains game including buffalo, brown hyena, giraffe and zebra, and is a natural sanctuary for the various creatures that the Van Den Bergs have rescued and rehabilitated over the years.

“It all began when a farmer called me about an owl he had found, and although I didn’t have a clue about owls, or birds for that matter, I immediately took the fletching barn owl in,” says Kyne Van Den Berg. “The very next day I received a call from another farmer who had heard that we rescue owls, and by the end of that month, we were caring for seven owls!” The owls (four barn owls, two spotted eagle owls and one pearl spotted owl) have all been released onto the reserve with the exception of one that sadly didn’t survive because of severe poisoning.

One of the barn owls has made itself at home close to the lodge in an owl box, and has since had two sets of four owlets much to the delight of guests at the lodge.

Kyne became so fond of learning from each owl that she enrolled in several wildlife rehabilitation courses although she continues to learn from each animal that Bushfellows has taken in, from cheetahs to wild dogs and even an African python that has already had 24 hatchlings! Two bat eared foxes have been released onto the reserve and it is hoped that they will breed this summer.

A particularly heart-warming story is that of Titan and Sahara, two lion cubs who were purpose-bred for canned hunting. At just three weeks old, Bushfellows purchased the two unrelated cubs whose future did not seem positive, and it was highly unlikely that they would ever experience the true African bush, their natural habitat. The cubs quickly adapted to family lodge life and are currently in an enclosure with the intention of releasing them onto the Bushfellows game reserve in early 2014 following a passive rehabilitation process to teach the lions to hunt and defend themselves. The lions have started hunting and have already made a few kills, including blesbok, porcupine and waterbuck.

“We believe that by the time we release them next year, their natural instincts and maturity will be at an adequate level for them to be set free for the first time ever,” says Kyne. “We have launched an awareness campaign of our conservation project and would like to encourage the public to like follow Titan and Sahara’s progress on our Facebook page:www.facebook.com/TitanAndSahara.”

For more information about the game loge and rates please go to : www.bushfellows.co.za

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