‘Mom’ sad to let 5 rescued baby antelope go

2016-03-31 12:30
FreeMe’s Carel Kopp pets one of the buck she has rehabilitated and raised over the past few months.

FreeMe’s Carel Kopp pets one of the buck she has rehabilitated and raised over the past few months. (Chelsea Pieterse, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A heart-warming bond has been formed between five baby buck and FreeMe’s Carel Kopp after the animal lover spent the past four months hand-raising them.

Calling them her “babies”, the doting Kopp has become a mother to the five young buck, spending every single day with them since November last year.

After caring for their injuries, raising them and feeding them, Kopp said it was almost time for them to be released. Although she was happy they had been rehabilitated, she was “heartbroken” that she was going to lose them.

“The first buck that came to me was a little oribi buck, which are very rare,” she said. “He had been abandoned and was found in the Caversham area. A woman took him in and hand-reared him for four weeks before she brought him in. He was tiny and only a month and a half old.”

Kopp said the next buck to be brought in was a blue duiker that had been attacked by a mongoose. “He was treated by a vet in Durban and brought to us when he was a month old.

“He has completely recovered and is extremely playful. He is a little scallywag,” said Kopp, laughing.

In January, a small steenbok was brought in for Kopp to look after.

It was one month old and had been found in Champagne Valley.

A month later, a bush buck found in Ixopo after a veld fire was brought in and a tiny reedbuck, just a week old, that had been badly injured also arrived.

Kopp became a mother to the buck who now run to her whenever they see her, with the blue duiker plastering Kopp in kisses whenever she is around.

“Every day since November I have been here to feed them three times a day, and sometimes I would only get home after 7pm,” she said.

“I cried on Monday knowing that they are going soon.

“It is like I am losing my children. They are my children.

“It has been such a privilege looking after them and each of them has their own personality.”

She said the buck would gradually be introduced into the wild, in an environment where they could come and go as they pleased until they were ready to be on their own.

“It is heartbreaking saying goodbye but it has been the biggest pleasure hand-rearing them and rehabilitating them to cope with being in their natural environment.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  good news  |  animals

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