Friday, January 29, 2010

an assortment of species

One of the things that amazes me about Harnas and its creatures is the diversity of species that seems to survive all together. When animals are young, they don't seem to have the instincts to hate other creatures. That comes later.

As you can see in this picture, a vervet monkey, a dog, and a leopard cub can all be friends. And in my bed tonight, I have a Jack Russell terrier, a baby baboon (Jessie) and a yellow lab named Lala (whose humans, Jo and Schalk, are in Gobabis tonight and so she has sought companionship). (Those who really know me realize that this is not a burden but a delight, and the more creatures in my bed, the happier I am. In truth, I sleep well with a bed full of animals--much better than if I slept alone.)

A couple of quick examples:

1. Honey, a brown dachshund, once nursed a leopard cub, Missy Jo, along with her own puppies. They had to supplement the milk with formula, of course, but Missy Jo just seemed to need the closeness that nursing offers.

2. Martha, the lion cub, gets along famously with the dogs in the courtyard (although she's spending more time during the day with the four "baby" lions--about a year old). She rough-houses with her doggie friends, and no one seems more dominant than the other. All orphaned cubs are "given" a dog to be a companion. Tara, for example, has raised many lion cubs--and has the scars to prove it.

3. One of our zebras, Delilah, hangs out with the cow. They walk around and graze on grass all day together. Buddies.

4. Klippie, the 2-year old giraffe, doesn't seem to realize she's a giraffe. She's afraid of the wild giraffes that roam Harnas, running instead to her human companions--as well as her friends, the springboks and donkeys. Somebody get her a mirror so she can see what she is!

5. Tammy, the caracal, shares an enclosure with Malcolm, the African wild cat. They groom each other and are BFF's.

These are just a few of the examples we could all learn from. Fear and hatred of the Other seem to be learned behaviors--or at least instincts that click in later. I love seeing meerkats sharing the burrows of squirrels and baboons snuggling with dogs. It gives me hope for this world.


  1. I love this photo. It should be blown up and made into a poster.

  2. Adorable. Waiting for that to very well be blown up and plastered onto your office door. I will let the bed creature comment slide for now (:P). You know I am digging your nature v. nurture psych discussion.


  3. How can I describe in English what I feel reading your diary: it's so touching, vivid and amazing and so much 'HARNAS-like'. Can't wait to get your book about Harnas. And the "bed full of animals" YES, for that I adore you. With at least 6 - 8 cats we hardly sleep at Harnas but without would be worse.
    Cornelia + Willi