Since retiring from private practice, Bruce has worked as the on-site veterinarian for game capture missions. Private parks trade animals with other parks and use capture teams supervised by veterinarians to catch and transport the animals. He mostly works with an antelope specifies called nyala. While there, I had a very unique opportunity to accompany Bruce on two capture outings.
We set up camp at 6 a.m. We saw animals, zebra, giraffe, horses, monkeys, and buck traverse through our camp area. Most of the day was spent sitting in the heat, eating, and waiting for the capture team to return to the camp with the anesthetized nyala. At the camp, the animals would receive medicine and then be held in a trailer as the team worked to capture the remaining animals.
On the ATV, the wind was in my hair, and we would come up over a hill and a wildebeest would be right in front of us or an impala would be leaping in the yard of a small beautiful stone church or a herd of giraffe would be running in unison to get out of the way or a stork would be gliding over the watering hole at sunset. So the end of the day was fun.
I am almost instantly loaded up on the ATV and in charge of holding the gun loaded with the dart. Okay, I can do this... and it should be good fun. Eric and I were off. We drove around for an hour in search of nyala. We were on the dirt track as well as tracking on the ATV in the bush. The grass was as high as my chest and small trees and bushes were loaded with huge stickers and thorns. Many of these thorns were bigger than an average index finger. As we drove through the bush, I continuously ducked to avoid a face full of thorns, although my hair seemed to have sticks and thorns all through it.
We start trudging through the thick bush to find the animal with the antenna and radio device. Eric was moving fast, and I trailed trying to avoid spider webs and thorns. We left the bike motor running as a way to find the bike again. These guys desperately need to invest in GPS devices. We see the animal. It is still up and moving. Eric grabs it by the ear and begins to run leading the animal back in the direction of the bike by the ear. Eventually, the animal drops and will not budge. Eric leaves me with the nyala holding her head up with my legs covering her eyes. The head must stay up so the animal does not choke on vomit.
Finally, Eric returns with the ATV. It is time for us to pick the animal up. She was heavy, dead weight, and I had no idea how this was going to work. Eric gave me a quick lesson how to lift her, and, next, I know she is on my lap. I have one arm propping up her neck, and the other firmly wrapped around her bottom. Eric is holding her legs since she occasionally wakes a little with a buck and a squirm. During the ride, I struggled to hold her head up, keep her from sliding off my lap, and ensure I didn’t fall off the bike. I am thinking to myself... I hope Eric knows the way back. I sure didn't. It is now a race against time, and we need to get her back before the drugs wear off. I feel relieved when we arrive back to the gang at camp.
Kaye has been traveling the world since her teens. Starting as an exchange student in Japan, she spent her twenties traveling throughout Europe. Her appetite for the exotic led her to less developed nations throughout Central & South America, where she became fluent in Spanish. Her passion for understanding other cultures led her on a three month adventure through Africa as a sole female on many a dusty road, with a backpack, a bus tickets and her tent. Kaye is also an entrepreneur.