This Kudu Remembered
BY AWAKE! CORRESPONDENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
THE handsome male kudu, an antelope with impressive spiral horns and distinctive ears, is nearly five feet [150 cm] high at the shoulder when full grown. The female, though usually lacking horns, is also distinguished by its large ears. The kudu is a shy animal, always on the alert and ready to run for cover. Thus, what happened to Karen in Zimbabwe is remarkable.
As reported in African Wildlife magazine, a little female kudu calf, which was found entangled in a wire fence, was rescued and given to Karen, who bottle-fed it for a few weeks. It thrived and remained in the vicinity of the dairy where Karen and her family lived, often playing with the children and the dogs. However, it gradually drifted back to the wild until, when nearly full grown, it was seen near the farm no more.
Some two years later, while driving on the farm road, Karen was surprised that a pregnant kudu cow did not scamper away at the approach of her car. Nor did it flee when she started walking toward it. By this time she knew that this must be the same animal she had bottle-fed, so she talked softly as she quietly drew near to it. The cow had recognized her too, for it lowered its head and nuzzled her while allowing her to embrace it!
A couple of months later, the cow was again near the road—this time with a wee calf. Karen felt that the calf was being proudly introduced by its mother, who once more allowed herself to be petted. A similar thing happened a few weeks later when it seemed as if the cow was actually waiting for Karen.
Another couple of months passed, and some farm laborers reported seeing this same kudu cow with a noose around her neck. They had tried to approach the cow to remove the noose, but the cow had run away. So Karen went looking for it in the bush, calling as she went. Before long, out it stepped in front of her. Karen had thoughtfully brought along some bread, which the cow had been fond of, and while this delicacy was being offered, Karen’s husband cut off the offending noose.
The obvious bond that lasted so long between man and beast brought much delight to this family.