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Day 2 and the final of our time out

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We slept in....which was heaven for me. Im generally an early riser (by nature), but I managed to sleep till just after 9 am and woke up feeling like I'd been to a spa. Sleeping in the semi private Thesens Island was fabulous. The only sounds we heard were birds and lapping water. We took our friend to the local Spur Steak-Ranch for breakfast. We struggled to find parking despite the fact that it is currently out of season.....no struggling for these folks who cleverly took the rail car to the same venue.

We chose the Knysna Waterfront for breakfast, its always an interesting place full of hustle and bustle....the nice...happy people sounds. Flag of every country greet people on entry.

This is the waterfront, named for obvious reasons.

We chose the Spur so we could be upstairs and have the view that upstairs offers.
This is a world where toys are expensive and though we dont own any, we enjoyed seeing them moored at the dock in the morning sun. There was a slight breeze blowing which causes that fabulous sound of clinking rigging against metal frames. I love it, it calls to something deep inside my soul.

Additionally we sat next to the bridge which periodically opens to allow larger yachts or catamarans through. Each time a boat is due to go through, a deep siren goes off telling all walkers that the bridge is due to open. Its quite exciting to be there when it happens.

After breakfast, coffee and a lovely chat, we headed out to the wolf sanctuary. I have lived in our area for 24 yrs and never yet been there , so I was pleased that I would finally get the opportunity. Although it started out as a wolf sanctuary, it now has a diverse collection of wildlife and farmyard animals, all rescue cases in one way or another.

The very first sign before we even got inside, was a warning not to tease the animals (this always gets me...why should anyone need THAT warning, but sadly they do) and also not to run. I get too that running we act like prey....but these animals are in large areas, with electrified fences, so how could anyone running cause any trouble?
Unless its that they dont want these wolves to even slightly feel their wild genes???
In the very first cage lies Nalea.

Hubby did not like the wolf experience AT ALL, because he doesnt like ANY animal in ANY enclosure that should be wild and free. I feel the same, but, I do know that once people illegally import creatures from elsewhere as tiny pups, allow them to mate with local dogs and a problem occurs, then this is the next best thing. First choice is to take them "home" and free them. But these no longer know how to hunt for themselves, AND we dont have the food resources for them either. Left on their own, the local farmers will shoot to kill....if they are lucky. Worse case scenario, the animals are injured and left to die a slow painful death.
That being said....

When we found some that were not sleeping, that death stare is hard to explain. It seriously looked at me like I was food. I was in fact grateful that there was a fence between this magnificent beast and myself. Those yellow eyes are fearful to look into.

The photos I took are timber wolves. Timber wolves in the wild are usually found in packs of five to 12 animals. There is one alpha male and one alpha female in the pack. A hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals within the pack helps them to function as a unit. Only one female in the pack breeds each year to the alpha male. The pack communicates with one another by using body language, facial expressions, scents and vocalizations such as howling. The rules of the pack are very important to them, as instinct tells them their survival depends on it. Subordinate members look to the alpha male and alpha female for direction. Their diet consists of bison, moose, elk, caribou, deer, rabbit, hare, beaver, mice and other rodents, and fish along with other animals. Some people have timber wolves in captivity as pets. Timber wolves living as pets still retain all of their natural born instincts.
For me, its sad to want to keep such a gorgeous animal who should be running and hunting in captivity....but it takes all kinds to make the world go round I guess.

I have no idea what happened, but one moment there was silence and the next a few donkeys were running braying and the wolves were howling....THAT HOWL....is spine tingling. To see them suddenly running along the fence was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. It happened so fast and unexpectedly, I didnt get one photo...mores the pity.

The wolves in general looked pretty well fed and happy enough. Some lay inside their shelters while others lay outside or on top.

They had a petting camp, but charged an additional fee, so I gave that a miss, much as I would have loved to feel what a real wolf feels like, I'm going to guess that it probably feels a lot like a dog and be satisfied with just having been as close as I was to these beautiful creatures. These folks were waiting to enter the petting camp. The wolves appeared to be waiting too. Despite the fact that these could be petted, they were still contained behind double fencing and electric fencing?!

In the camp next to the wolves, there were some wild dogs. Now these were a pair of lazy chaps, they didnt even raise their heads to see who we were. Guess, they are tired of us gaping at them....and we aren't as beautiful to gape at as they are.

In the next camp was a black backed jackal. Their marking are just so incredibly gorgeous. The shiny black spotted backs on tan bodies is quite a site to see. Caught this one at a water hole enjoying a cool drink. Black-backed Jackals are generally widespread in South Africa, they are common in protected areas where suitable habitat occurs. Trouble is, the more we "steal" their land, the more they stray onto farmers lands looking for livestock. They are considered vermin, but despite strenuous control measures in many farming areas of southern Africa remain relatively abundant. They are very light on their feet, almost appears as if they are tip toeing around.

Vermin or not....he sure is beautiful.

Besides the really wild animals, the place had an abundance of tame animals (all rescue cases) and so we moved on from one section to the other. The first chap to greet us was this old tortoise. I wish I could tell how old this one was. I know they can reach 150 yrs of age. The way to tell how old a tortoise is, is to count its rings....like a tree ring, that shows its age, but who has time to sit and count? Plus another problem is that sometimes, if tortoises dont get enough food or water, they dont cultivate the rings either. And if they live through major stress, like a forest fire..they can develop more than one ring that season. So, how old this guys is....is much your guess as mine. Either way, they look prehistoric even as youngsters.

This one was peacefully chomping his way through the grass and seemed to be really enjoying the bits he managed to pull out.

We passed a pen of sheep and goats. A strange fact is that the sheeps white section of its skin was rather rough, yet the black shiny heads were soft as down. They felt awesome to stroke and loved being stroked....so it was a win win for both the sheep and myself.

I didn't get to touch the goats, but I loved how they looked.
This one looked like it had gone out and had a perm. emoticon

This one also seemed to have a "perm" but different horns altogether.

Some goats had beards.

And as different as all the sheep and goats were, they were all extremely happy when the vehicle came around with their food....chopped down trees. They looked and smelled like Eucalyptus trees and even the tortoise seemed to be happy at his lot of tree food.

The place had the usual collection of bunnies, emu's, ostrich, donkeys and such but when I came to the pigs.....well.....they were just SO ENTERTAINING. I mean, tell me this isnt just SO UGLY its BEAUTIFUL. This is called a Kolbroek (spotted pants) pig usually cultivated for its fat content.

And how about this sleeping baby pig....how adorable is that?

Hard to believe something so small ends up this size.

This little white/pink (depends how you view it) was also just sooooo cute.

I cant say his adult counterpart was particular attractive though lol

And to think the little fellow could end up this size is mind boggling. This is a landrace pig and it is cultivated for its meat more than its fat content. At this point, I wasn't amused at Justin asking me if I enjoyed my egg and bacon breakfast.....I felt sick at the thought. emoticon
Mind you, if pigs could smile...I recon this one was smiling. He/she had escaped the abattoirs and got to spend his day just lying around in the sun.

Some of the babies had escaped their pens and I tried to get a little one to eat off my hand. They were pretty shy, but couldnt resist the pellets in the end.

I think I finally know where the expression "happy as a pig in mud" comes from.

We said our goodbyes to this family of pigs and made our way to the restaurant to have some coffee and a scone before heading home.

It may have been a short time out....but it was wonderful.
Jewel has turned out to be a gem to Axel. Its rare to see the two apart these days. These were snapped in my kitchen. Axel sharing Jewels bed. She's an absolute darling of a dog.

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