Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Idler, Friday, November 30, 2018


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A PEACOCK in Vermont, in the US, has abandoned his owners to join a flock of wild turkeys. He's been gone for six weeks now. Rene and Brian Johnson, of Springfield, spot him now and again with the turkeys, but he remains awol.

Rene and Brian believe their peacock – known as Pea, Forest or Walter - took up with the turkeys out of loneliness after a companion peacock died. They approached the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for advice, according to Huffington Post.

"My peacock has run off with the turkeys," the email read. "Do you have any suggestions on how to catch the little twerp? I know where he is most days. Any information would be appreciated!"

Vermont Fish and Wildlife put the email on their Facebook page, and since then the thing has gone viral.

Yet the issue seems fairly simple. Firstly, why confuse a peacock by giving him three names? Peacocks are sensitive creatures and when you give them all kinds of names they become disorientated and unstable. They seek the order and stability of the flock.

Secondly, why not get him a peahen companion? Let's put it this way. If you go to a place like the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties looking for a gorgeous gal, if by the end of the evening she hasn't turned up, you'll settle for a turkey.

That's obviously what's happened with Pea (aka Forest, aka Walter). He'd prefer a lady peacock, a peahen, but he's settled for a turkey. Simple innit?



GOOD news tinged with sadness. My favourite wilderness spot has won a national award. Tembe Elephant Park and Lodge has been judged the best in South Africa in the three-star category.

But Tom Mahamba, the livewire manager who had been at Tembe since the get-go, was not there in Sandton to collect the award from tourism minister Derek Hanekom. Unbeknown to me until now, Tom has died and the award was received by his daughter, Celelihle, and Tembe marketing manager Pearl Ndlovu.

Tembe is indeed a pearl of a place. It is home to the Big Five. And the elephant of that Five are especially BIG. They are the remnant of the herd that used to roam between present-day-Maputo and the lower South Coast of KZN. Genetically distinct from the elephant herds of Kruger and elsewhere, they produce some of Africa's biggest tuskers.

Tembe has an atmosphere all its own. Guests are met at the lodge by a choir of singing ladies, and there's quite a lot of singing later on round the campfire as well. Being just below the Mozambique border, beer supplies come in from there – Laurentina and Deux-M, lovely stuff! The game drives are splendid. Much of the custom is from overseas visitors who fly in to the airstrip of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, who are responsible for the park's conservation management.

The Lodge hums with activity and provides employment to scores of local people in a region that could not be more remote and rural. Tembe epitomises the often-repeated call by conservationists for local communities to be given a stake in wildlife conservation.

Here it is on display, working. It's a model to be emulated elsewhere in Maputaland and beyond.



WHAT'S the difference between an onion and an accordion?

Nobody cries when you chop up an accordion.

Last word

A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.

Terry Pratchett

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