Saying Goodbye to HerbieWritten by Amy Hulme
A Sad Farewell...
Herbie, the Bushpig, came to Daktari in November 2012, he was about 4 months old. Someone in the area had taken him to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabiliation Centre. Moholoholo realized that Herbie was neither a full Bushpig nor a full domestic pig and as such could not be rehabilitated under their care – and so he came to Daktari.
In Herbie’s early days he was extremely cute and he quickly fell into Daktari life, he loved and craved the company of people. He would walk twice a day with the dogs, volunteers and children, exercise which he absolutely loved and needed - one particularly nice memory is of him swimming and playing in the dam with Loki.
As Herbie grew and began to mature he started to shows signs of dominance and aggression. Perhaps he didn’t realize his own strength as he tried to play and join in with the dogs. After a couple of incidents it was decided that Herbie should be kept outside of camp in his own enclosure and that Peter Rogers, the vet, would castrate him.
The operation was a success in many ways, Herbie seemed to calm down a lot and the children at Daktari were able to watch Peter at work – a once in a lifetime experience for them all. Thanks to generous donations we were also able to extend Herbie’s enclosure to give him more space.
During his time at Daktari, it is safe to say he was a catch with the long-term lady volunteers! His first mother, Risette did a great job of raising him and loved him dearly. Mummy number two was Katrien, who would spend her afternoons walking Herbie around the camp when he was too big and boisterous to go on the dog walks. Finally during his last months at Daktari, Louise fell under his charm and would make sure he got his daily exercise and his favourite treats of dog food and bananas. There were also many other volunteers who loved and cared for him a lot.
Although charming, some of the most vivid memories of Herbie have included mass chaos! On his afternoon walks he would try his best (and often succeed) in breaking into camp, running wild and rubbing himself all over Michele’s furniture in the lapa.
Sadly, over the last couple of months Herbie caused injury to a number of volunteers, either whilst cleaning his enclosure or more recently even while he was eating. He has grown a lot recently and his extended enclosure has been looking far too small for him.
The time came to think seriously about Herbie’s future, as a project we have to consider the safety of our volunteers and children first and, of course, assess the happiness of the animal. It was decided that Herbie would be released onto a farm close by, the same place where we released two warthogs not long ago.
This morning at 6am, he was loaded onto the back of our bucky and transported to his new home. He was very well behaved during the whole episode and enjoyed Louise’s company every step of the way. On opening of the carry cage, he emerged happily and seemed quite comfortable in his surroundings. He was left with a trail of his favourite dog food treats to keep him busy while the bucky left.
Today was very sad in many ways, we will miss Herbie and although his relocation perhaps didn’t happen under the best of circumstances, we realize it was the right thing to do. We wish Herbie many happy days roaming free, foraging to his heart’s content and wallowing in the biggest, muddiest puddles he can find.
Please feel free to post your best Herbie memories/pictures on our facebook page.