Willem Botha, or Mr Botha as he is more popularly known, runs the Game Water Supply Project for our Makalolo and Linkwasha Concessions in Hwange National Park. Here he updates us on the fate of Pelican, who was left behind by his squadron with a broken wing…
Game Water Supply – The Heartbeat in the Frontier of Hwange
The pumping season in the Wilderness Safaris concessions has already been underway for some three months – and still six months to go until close-down when the summer rains return in December.
Myself, my assistants, my Land Cruiser and all our equipment have been, and will be, out on the road each and every day attending to breakdowns, routine maintenance and refuelling and servicing pumps and engines to ensure that water is pumped from beneath the Kalahari sands to sustain and give life to this great wilderness of Hwange.
Managing the game water supply is like being out on a new frontier; each and every day brings a new experience, a new sighting, a new adventure. I see so much and have so many stories to tell…
Here’s my first, a story I call The Lone Pelican…
On the 22nd April 2015, early in the morning, I witnessed a not-so-common sighting at Big Sam (Somavundla Pan) of hundreds and hundreds of pelicans. By mid-morning they had taken to the skies, circling higher and higher before heading north into the blue horizon. One moment still visible and then they were gone.
For one pelican it was not to be… he could no longer continue on the journey as his right wing was injured and he was unable to fly. He just had to remain behind.
I asked myself what could have been going through this pelican’s mind with all that was happening to him – surely there must have been something… or maybe in pelican language – that we don’t understand – he simply said, “So long my friends, I will catch up with you one day.” Do we as mankind know all the ways of the wild?
Big Sam is now home to Pelican, whose wing has healed though he still can’t fly. He has made friends with the elephants and all the other game and birds that come to Big Sam – he is alive and well!
Pelican has also become my friend and I see him every day when I drive past Big Sam on my way to attend to my game water supply tasks.
Until my next story, take care and chin up!
Images of Pelican © Willem Botha
Read Rachel Lang – Bush-Bound Girl’s – inspiring profile on Mr B and his assistants here.