Placing offspring in foster care is not limited to human society. Certain bird species, like cuckoos, have evolved to put their chicks up for adoption. The only difference being that the adoptive parents have no consent or knowledge about the agreement. This phenomenon is known as brood parasitism and several of these ‘free-loaders’ can be viewed on MalaMala Game Reserve.
While out on your next safari, take a closer look at the eyes of the animals you are viewing. Take note of the shape of the pupils. You may notice that lions have very different eyes to those of your cat at home. You’ll see that the pupils of a zebra are quite different to those of a crocodile. So, why the variation?
MalaMala Game Reserve is one of the few reserves on the continent that not only records what our guests are seeing on safari but also publishes those records. These numbers truly are remarkable yet MalaMala delivers them year after year. It’s all about the wildlife.
Speak to any ranger that has worked at MalaMala Game Reserve, past or present, and ask what keeps them here and, in many cases, what brings them back. You will get one simple answer: “It’s all about the wildlife…” So, one has to ask what makes the game viewing so special at MalaMala? There is no single reason but rather the culmination of a number of factors which result in the ‘Magic of MalaMala’ that so many have revelled in over the decades.
The aardvark (or ant bear as it is also known) is arguably one of the most peculiar creatures on MalaMala Game Reserve and it is probably the one that you are least likely to see. Most people don’t know very much about this odd looking animal besides the fact that its name is always the first word in a dictionary and that it has often been portrayed in kids cartoons over the years.
They been described by many as the perfect predator, remaining virtually unchanged for millions of years. Since the time of dinosaurs they have out-survived many other species in some of the toughest and most hostile environments on the African continent.They hold the title of being the second largest reptile on earth as well as being one of the longest living animals.
The world’s most trafficked mammal is one that many people have never even heard of. Amidst the catastrophe of wildlife poaching and trafficking, where animals such as rhinos, lions and elephants often take the spotlight, this very small creature is mostly overlooked. There are eight different species of this, the world’s only truly scaly mammal, and they are all threatened with extinction
Disney recently released their much-anticipated remake of the Lion King. The original movie (first screened in 1994), was a huge success in almost every corner of the world. Indeed, many rangers like myself watched it when we were little urchins and it has remained close to our hearts ever since. If you think I’m exaggerating I’d suggest you put it to the test by humming any one of the songs in the movie next to a ranger and they’ll probably carry the tune or provide you with the lyrics!
For as long as I can remember I have been enraptured by nature. The fascination of how an ant colony selects a new queen, how trees create food, why a zebra has stripes or how a bat can pinpoint a mosquito in the dark. My journey into conservation although inevitable in retrospect, was neither simple nor easy.