I didn't write yesterday because it was an eventful day--and here's why:
The universe takes away--like the little baboon--but it also gives. Within the last week, in the large cheetah enclosure, a female cheetah gave birth. Marieta knew it was about to happen and had moved the female into a smaller, separated place so the males wouldn't kill the babies (as they do--even house cats will kill the offspring of another male). So when it became clear that the female had given birth, they started to look for the cubs to make sure they were okay. They didn't show up, so finally Marieta sent some men in to look for the cubs.
They found one cub dead, and another one, male, that had had its tail bitten off by--probably--mongooses. There was a third one, a female, that was fine. But the mother wasn't taking care of them. Maybe she was too young, maybe she just didn't have the maternal instinct. Whatever the cause, the cubs were destined to die if Marieta didn't do anything. So she took the two living cubs and brought them back to her kitchen and started feeding them with her unique concoction of milk, cream, protein, vitamins, and calcium. They're drinking well and seem to be doing all right, considering what they've been through.
They're very small right now--about the size of your hand--and their eyes are not even open. They don't do much but drink milk and sleep. I've reached into their box and snapped this photo and petted them for a bit, but I try not to do it too often because they just need to sleep and get stronger.
No names yet. Sometimes Marieta picks them herself and sometimes they have volunteers vote on it. I'll let you know. Meanwhile, Marieta is going to Swakopmund tomorrow for a few days to see her son Schalk and his family. She's taking them with her so they have constant care.
That means I'll have a little more responsibility with Koema--babysitting him during the day and making sure his feedings take place. Marty--Marieta's right hand woman--will do most of the feeding, but I'll be around to do my share.
And in case I haven't said it before, I'm just head over heels in love with Koema--who will now have younger silbings to play with in a few weeks. I've taken dozens of photographs and believe that everything he does is perfect. I disregard all the bruises and bites he has inflicted and give him kisses whenever he'll let me. I understand, finally, why parents spoil their children. Here's one of the many photos I've taken of his face--which--have I mentioned?--is perfect.