In October 2011, the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre welcomed a three month old bushbuck ewe. The owners of the farm, near Grahamstown, found the workers on the farm trying to kill her and luckily stopped them in time before they could do it. They then bottle fed her for a month before deciding it was best to bring her to us so we could continue with her rehabilitation. We named her Bambi and she was doing extremely well.
We put her with a few springbuck and they became friends immediately. She was weaned in February 2012 and in March a one month old bushbuck ram arrived at the centre. The ram was orphaned when his mother died. We immediately put him with the ewe and they bonded straight away and soon the ewe was seen by the ram as his mother. After every bottle feed, the ram would go to the ewe and try to suckle, knocking her with his head to try and get some milk which she did not have. She did not once kick or push him away, which showed us that one day she will be a good mother.
The ram was weaned off his milk in July and they were both eating a variety of fresh branches we cut for them daily and every second week we treated them to some fresh fruits and a little bit of lusern. We gradually increased the lusern to help them through the winter and when the cold weather was warming up, it was time to release them. They were released on 4 October 2012 in the large garden of Rippons Safari Lodge where they will be monitored for a short while.
By Zane’ Olivier