A sure sign of being a real loser.......is when the most exciting thing that happens on a Friday night is that you can go to bed early. Guess that part of it is working a long, hot shift at the rehab centre, which is full of little babies of all kinds.
Ended up that the biggest group of meerkats didn't go, because 3 of them were still in hiding this morning when Boss collected the rest. They came out a bit later though, and hopefully we have now dug up all the tunnels so that they can't repeat that trick. (don't you love the way I can say 'we', when this one of the group noun has not touched a shovel? Although I did pull out humungous numbers of giant weeds and tomato bushes in the enclosure yesterday). So instead of zero, we still have seven. And just so that even if that tribe had gone, we wouldn't be able to celebrate a suricate-free day, a baby arrived yesterday afternoon. Hand-raised as a pet. Only about a month old - HELL! HE SHOULDN'T EVEN BE WEANED YET!!! - ripped away from his real family, now discarded by his abductors. (And it is THEIR fault, whether they took him from his family themselves, or paid someone else to do the dirty work.) They probably didn't think that a pup this young would cry constantly for reassurance and company, that he would normally be with his siblings, mom and a babysitter 24/7, that he will try desperately to claim his territory by scent-marking and urinating everywhere. And now he is on his own, and we have to walk the difficult line between giving him the physical contact that he absolutely has to have and not wanting to reinforce his imprintedness any more. We might be able to introduce him into the tribe that stayed behind, but not until their juveniles are a bit older, and not until he is at least a month older. And even then, there is no guarantee that they won't just kill him outright because he is regarded as a threat to their bloodlines. Then again...it could be his fate with any other meerkat he ever meets. And a meerkat on his own in the wild would be lucky to make it to the end of his first day alone.
GGGRRR....how to piss off a wildlife rehabilitator in one easy move!
However, between the long afternoon, the soreness of nose and the oh so delicious combo of TCA, SSRI, T3, sedative and antibiotic, this tired rehabber is heading for bed. Oh - don't forget the stomach stuffed full of fresh sushi that I picked up on the way home. There is a lovely Afrikaans saying, 'Maagie vol, oe toe'. Translation is 'stomach full, eyes closed' but it doesn't sound as quaint in English.
And I need to be up early, given the following house guests :
9 mynahs (eat on their own but need food given to them)
12 pigeons (ditto)
1 red-headed finch (ditto)
1 glossy starling (ditto, but has to go into aviary here as he is too imprinted)
3 sub-adult mousebirds (ditto # 2)
1 bulbul (also ditto # 2)
2 fledgling mousebirds (need hand-feeding every hour)
8 sparrows, ranging from a pinky without eyes yet to a fledgling that is almost ready to go, as soon as he can feed himself (all need feeding every hour)
1 swallow (ditto # 3)
Breakfast should preferably be delivered at sunrise - unless the screams wake me up, it will probably arrive 90 mins later. Rule of first feeds says that one should never tube a bird until you can keep your eyes open properly...!