Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shungu - kicked to within an inch of his life . . .

Time for another childish post from the wilds of Selous - and this time it is indeed all about kids. In this instance a baby - a zebra baby.

Called Shungu.

He was so young that he still had the remnants of his umbilical chord, and he endured a terrible attack by 2 stallions who tried to kill him. This is normal. When a new zebra stallion takes over a herd - he tries to remove alien genes while at the same time safeguarding against future competition for mares; in this instance 2 stallions banded together and tried to kill one of the foals. (Because of this, a female will often remove herself and her new-born male foal from the herd until it is strong enough to run). A guest on a game-viewing drive managed to film part of the attack, and I will try and get a copy of it.

It wasn't pleasant, but it was nature in the raw.

The guests requested to be removed from the scene, and the guide on the vehicle radio'ed back to Pamuzinda.  The battered foal was picked up by a second vehicle, brought in, and taken to an old dog kennels that we have on the property, where he collapsed to the ground and couldn't move. His eyes were glazed, his breathing was labored, and he was obviously in deep shock.

He was covered with a blanket, and one of the dogs that lives here, Eli - a pointer, stood watch over him for a couple of days, keeping him warm while not allowing any other dogs near.

When the second vehicle arrived, the stallions were still kicking him, and the person who picked him up said he was kicked at least 30 meters in the time it took him to chase off the stallions. It really was unrelenting.

Despite the beating he had taken, he staggered to his feet the second day we had him. . . .

One of the most devastating blows was a kick to the eye which must have left the poor little fellow seeing stars. Certainly he was concussed, and from day one he has been shaking his head as if trying to clear it. As a lion will attest, a zebra has got a really tough skin - and to tear it down to the bone like this, even on a young foal, takes some brute force . . .

That was from a backward kick, and he must have moved his head a fraction because the kick would have been aimed to take out his eye.

One of the stallions took the little foal by the neck with a vicious bite, and threw him several feet into the air; he landed quite a few yards away. There was substantial damage done, and the resulting wounds were deep and painful.

He was bitten in the side as well as his neck, and the stallions kicked him both with their front legs as well as thunderous blows with their back legs - aiming predominantly for his head and chest area. There was absolutely no doubt they were trying to kill him, and his mother could do nothing to stop the assault.

The first positive sign was when he started drinking milk and glucose.

And though Shungu is stronger now, and recovering from the massive beating he took, Eli still keeps a protective eye out for his new best friend.

He was ready to pull me away of he thought it necessary!

We all now think Shungu is going to make it.

The following picture was taken this afternoon - much much stronger than when we picked him up - and though he still shakes his head as though trying to clear it, he is so much more alert now. He still hangs his head, and once he lifts that, we will know for sure that he is well on the road to recovery. Some of the sores on his side have become infected, and he has been given an antibiotic in addition to the gentian violet he was first painted with, and he has another stronger antibiotic waiting in the wings if needed.

Though he took in a lot of milk since arriving, he only urinated for the first 4 days, and on day 5 he was given an enema by Kylie - the Weddings and Events Coordinator for the group. It worked really quickly, and he must have been desperate for a little help, because she had to have several showers after administrating it. (That's a story for another blog!). But at least Shungu isn't all blocked up, and seems to be feeling much better now.

That's why I am posting on him - because I think he's going to make it. Poor little guy.

And for those of you who were wondering what his name means - it is the Shona word for 'heart', 'spirit', or 'guts'. All the qualities shown by this little chap in his short life so far.

Shungu. Of Pamuzinda.

Have a great day!