This past weekend we took a three day trip along the Garden Route, which is essentially the coastline between the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. Our first stop was at the Cango Wildlife Ranch, where we saw lots of native animals like tigers, crocs and lemurs. Some of us even had the opportunity to pet and interact with the big cats!
Next we went to the Cango Ostrich Farm, a commercial farm that raises ostriches for meat, leather and feather products. (The vegetarian in me was pleased to know that the actual butchering occurs offsite!) At the end of our tour, some brave souls in our group rode the ostriches.
After the Ostrich Farm we made our way to the Elephant Sanctuary, a rehabilitation center for elephants that had been hurt in the wild. I had the pleasure of meeting Marula, a 19 year old female elephant who damaged her trunk at a young age and was no longer able to use it in certain ways. After her family abandoned her, the Sanctuary took her in and taught her how to use her trunk in different ways in order to survive. She now acts as a mother figure for some of the younger elephants at the Sanctuary.
Our last stop was at Monkeyland, a similar facility where monkeys, apes and lemurs are taken from captivity as pets or in zoos and taught how to survive on their own in the wild. We saw 10 of the 11 species represented at Monkeyland, including my favorite, the ringtail lemur.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! My name is Nicole and I am a junior at the University of Rochester, originally from the suburbs of New York City. I am majoring in public health with minors in biology and studio arts. I love ethnic foods, Halloween, the color purple, strange artwork and marine animals. You can find me around campus volunteering as an EMT, planning on-campus concerts, or hanging out in Starbucks. My dream is to one day have a pet tortoise. I am excited to study public health in Cape Town next semester and share my experiences through photography!</span></p>