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Photo: Galen R, Frysinger, Sheboygan Wisconsic

Dumila (that's hello in Setswana!!)
It is hard to believe that I have only been here a week - I have been so b
usy that it feels like months have gone by! Thank you to all of you who have sent me emails to see how I am settling in - as for those of you who I haven't heard from - I think it is a poor show! Somewhat touchingly - I still find myself included on peoples' appalling round robin joke emails so I sometimes find it hard to remember that I have left England!

It has been unbelievably hot out here - the temperatures must reach at least 90F most days, but at least it is not too humid. Today rain is threatening which the park really needs, but of course it is very muggy -even in the thatched office hut that I am in at the moment. Africa is so unlike anything in England. The bush land is amazing and the views here at Mokolodi are stunning - hills and valleys and a huge variety of strange trees and shrubs. Sometimes, it all seems a little unreal. I have managed to get out into the park several times and have seen the elephants (having a bath), the tame cheetahs, giraffe, kudu, warthog, waterbuck, impala, crocodiles, ostrich (and brand new babies), eland, hundreds of beautiful birds and butterflies and a worrying large selection of nasty looking bugs! I have yet to see any snakes and am not particularly keen to alter this! Tonight Richard (my cousin) and I have been ordered to go and photograph the sunset from Worlds View (where you can see over the whole park) - it's a hard life but someone's gotta do it.

Africa is a continent of fairly violent contrasts which unfortunately was brought home to me this morning. After all the amazing scenes that I have seen, we got a report in this morning that one of the rhinos had been killed. In my capacity as official photographer, Puso (the park manager) decided that he needed me to document this. So my first site of an African White Rhino was this poor dead one down at the waterhole. She (Matutsu) was only three years old - still a baby. She had been gored to death by a female mother of a newborn calf as she was trying to adopt her as her surrogate mother - very sad. We had thought that the dominant male (Sargant) had killed her as he is very agressive - but this was not the case. The smell was pretty appalling but I managed to stay upright - even though I had to clamber all over the rhino to get the shots Puso wanted. On my second night here Puso very kindly cooked for all three of us - fish he had just caught from our lake, and then two of the staff - Posta and David - came and sang Setswana songs for us.

We have also moved into our own volunteers accomodation which is lovely and cool - if very underfurnished. Seriously - we have beds, a fridge and a very dodgy oven and that is it! In a testament to African buildin, the beds only just fit into the rooms due to the measurements being horribly miscalculated! We have huge cupboards and tiny beds which I am way too tall for. I also managed to destroy the shower last night - simply by turning it on! Whoops! It may sound as if this is a life of Riley but I have been working very very hard!

I get up at 6.30am every day - seven days a week (and yes - I do manage this) and am in the office by 7am. We work till 12 - break for lunch till 2 and then work till 4.30pm. I am busy with my proposal for a corporate adoption scheme, although this still has a way to go. I will email you all with more details for that when it is underway as I am hoping that some of you and your companies will be able to help us. The loss of a rhino, for instance, hits us very hard, as we can get them sponsored for around £8000! So I am hoping that we will be able to raise lots of money for Mokolodi through this scheme. More info to follow soon on that.

Fortunately, I am out of the office frequently doing photos, so I am beginning to catch the sun a little! Tomorrow I have to go and photograph a bush braai (corporate lunch) and the Ditswane dancers who are a group of local children who dance for the guests. I have to dash off now as it is 4.15pm here and after the sunset Rich and I are off into Gabarone to go to the one and only pub - The Bull and Bush! That should be an experience. I hope you are all well and happy and having a wonderful time in rainy old England! Do come out and visit me if you have the time or money! We have lots of spare beds in the volunteers accomodation and you will be well looked after anyway - take care.


Below you will find a detailed description of Mokolodi and what we do here, as well as a proposal for a corporate adoption scheme. If we can get all the recognisable animals at Mokolodi sponsored by British companies, then we could more than double the Reserve's annual income. Some of you who have more money at your disposal might even consider adopting one of these animals yourselves our cheapest animal is only £100 to sponsor and just think of the kudos of adopting your own African animal! Tthe cheapest animal is a tortoise, but it is an African tortoise! You could even club together to sponsor an animal like a vervet monkey for £800 or a crocodile for £1000.

The Mokolodi Wildlife Foundation was formed in 1991 with the aim of promoting wildlife conservation and environmental education to the children of Botswana. The first project of the Foundation was the creation of the Mokolodi Nature Reserve in 1994. Covering 10,000 acres, the Reserve is home to a varied population of animal species indigenous to South Eastern Botswana. In a short time the Reserve has built itself up to be a nationally recognised educational, conservation and tourist facility. Mokolodi is home to a variety of flora and fauna, and contains nearly half of Botswana's white rhino population (at a grand total of nine). Five of these rhino were born on the Reserve, and it is also believed that two of the females are currently pregnant. This is a great achievement considering that the usual amount of time between calves for a white rhino is four years. It houses one of only two wild animal sanctuaries in Botswana and has the country's only Wild Cheetah Transit Station for the relocation of 'problem cheetahs'. Four young, orphaned African elephants are being raised in the park as a joint venture with the Serendib Elephant Orphanage.

The philosophy behind Mokolodi Nature Reserve is that income from tourism and the sustainable use of wildlife and natural resources is used to subsidise the environmental education programme, focusing particularly on children from government schools who cannot afford to visit the great Parks of the North. More than 10,000 young people visit Mokolod'ís Education Centre every year, from all educational levels including tertiary institutions. Our highly trained Environmental Educators use the 'outdoor classroom' to install in children a love of nature and an understanding of the importance of conserving it for future generations. So, at Mokolodi we consider ourselves to be conserving for the future, as well as the present.

The land on which the Reserve exists was originally a cattle ranch and employed only nine people. Today, Mokolodi employs over 70 people from local villages, and the community enjoys a strong sense of ownership over the Reserve. We are actively involved in developing facilities for them and trying to improve the standards of living for all residents of Mokolodi. Young people from the village have formed an accomplished traditional dance troupe, the Ditshwene Dancers, showing active community participation and initiative.

Mokolodi is a charitable organisation and relies heavily on donations and tourism. Between December 1999 and February 2000, Mokolodi was badly affected by heavy rains and flooding. As a result of these floods the Reserve was forced to close for three months whilst the damage to the infastructure was being repaired. This caused a heavy burden to the park, which had to channel its funds into repairs, whilst receiving no income from tourism. The Education Centre was still receiving school groups, and therefore had to be subsidised. The Reserve is feeling the effects of these floods today as it tries to get back on its feet.

The Corporate Adoption Scheme
Why should you help our charity over the millions of others that you receive appeals from? It is difficult to sum up what is so special about Mokolodi Nature Reserve, but here are a few reasons why we hope you will help us. Many zoos in England offer companies the chance to sponsor one of their animals. But these animals are destined to live their lives in captivity never tasting the freedom of the plains. Here at Mokolodi, we are offering you the chance to sponsor an animal living in its own natural habitat in the wilds of Africa. At the same time though, these animals are tracked and cared for on a daily basis by professional and dedicated guides thus meaning that they receive the best of both worlds the best possible care and the freedom that they deserve. Sick and injured animals are also brought into our sanctuary. If possible, they are released back into the wild once they have been rehabilitated. Some of these animals will never be able to be released though, such as our yellow-billed kite, whose wing was torn off ; possibly by humans.

These animals are kept in our sanctuary and cared for by the staff, and used as part of the Environmental Education programme. It is extremely important to educate the local children on the importance of conservation and to help them realise the value of wildlife. Only they can ensure a future for wildlife in Africa. Your company will be able to advertise its commitment to Mokolodi on your website, and you will have the knowledge that you are helping not only an individual animal with its own unique personality, but that you are also aiding many children, who would not otherwise have the chance, to learn about their native country. We will also be creating a section on our own website which will inform our visitors that your company is sponsoring one of our animals. We will also include links from our website to your own, so that visitors to our site will be able to learn more about the companies involved with Mokolodi. Plus, your company will always be welcome at Mokolodi to experience all the wonderful facilities that we have to offer from spectacular game drives and visits to our beautiful tame cheetahs, to sumptuous bush braais (BBQs) and well-organised bush conferences. Just think next time you want to meet with your international clients you could do this at a game reserve to which you have a personal connection.

Below is a table of the animals that you could sponsor. If you are interested in any particular one, we will be happy to send you details on each individual within that group, so that you can decide which character best suits your companyís profile.
Animal No. on the Reserve Cost (£) per animal
White Rhino 9 £8000
African Elephant 4 £5000
Cheetah 2 £4000
Hippos 2 £4000
Giraffe 15 £3000
Crocodile 5 £1000
Martial Eagle 1 £1000
Vervet Monkeys 4 £800
Whitebacked Vulture 1 £500
Yellow-Billed Kite 1 £400
Mongoose 2 £300
Tortoise 5 £100

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Do visit our website - to find out more about what we do and to see photographs and interactive videos of some of our wonderful animals. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact either of our marketing team by email: or
Or by telephone: 00 267 561955 / 6
Funds raised from the adoption scheme will initially go through Tusk Charity in Britain, with whom Mokolodi has close links.
© Jo Plumridge 2001

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