Fostering a wild animal might seem challenging, especially when you have little to no knowledge about its lifestyle. That’s why people say that taking care of an animal teaches you responsibility. Nevertheless, you’ll get to the point where you’re the expert in caring for a particular animal. You will reach the part in your relationship when you can quickly determine what they need at the moment. A connection was built, and they already consider you as their parent.
Although providing the animal with a comfortable home requires effort, the most challenging part would still be letting them go. You need to make an effort to face the reality that your little baby has to live the life meant for them. Amidst the bond you are forming, you should prepare for the inevitable separation. It’s heartbreaking, but remember that animals know gratitude and never forget. You can watch many online videos showing a reunion between wild animals and former foster parents, and those moments will tug at your heartstrings.
One of those wild animal foster parents is Lauren, a wildlife vet from Johannesburg. She took care of a baby aardwolf after being found by farmers. They tried to search for its mother, but it did not appear for days. Locals rarely see aardwolves in the area since they are shy creatures. The wild animal is often mistaken as a hyena due to the similarities in physical attributes. You can differentiate them through their diet. Hyenas are known as carnivores, whereas aardwolves are insectivorous. Their meals primarily consist of harvester termites.
“She was really underweight and dehydrated. We just had to get her through the first couple of days, just getting her to eat.” Lauren shared. The young aardwolf was named Maple, and Lauren gave her a roof by letting the pup inside her house. Maple quickly adapted to her daily routine and treated Lauren as her mom. The wildlife vet did not let Maple get used to a domesticated life, so she would often bring her out to the fields. She allowed Maple to learn how to hunt bugs independently.
Exposing Maple to her natural habitat is essential so she’ll be familiar with the environment when the time comes. Lauren must let her go as it’s the only natural thing to do. After nurturing her into a healthy aardwolf, Lauren moved Maple into an outdoor enclosure. “I would still go out at night to feed her a bottle. First thing in the morning before I went off to work, I would go and give her milk. We eventually left her enclosure open, so that she could come and go as she pleased.” Lauren explained.
The routine continued for months — Maple would run free in the wild and then come back whenever she could. She’s found freedom, and Lauren did an amazing job ensuring her survival. The young aardwolf acknowledged Lauren’s effort as a foster mom when she showed her a look of gratitude. “I’m pretty sure she was turning around to say thank you. When I look at that, I see gratitude. The end goal is always setting them free.” Lauren lovingly said.
The foster mom mentioned how rewarding the experience was even though Maple is away now, and she misses her. Maple will surely carry the love and care Lauren showed her until old age. A reunion might happen soon, and it’ll be like they weren’t even separated. Johannesburg Wildlife Vet has been caring for animals aside from Maple. To give more animals a chance at life like Maple, you can reach a helping hand through various ways, which you can learn more about on their website.
This article by Ergil Ermeno was first published by The Animal Rescue Site. Lead Image: YOUTUBE/THE DODO.
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