One afternoon while I was deeply engrossed with the writing of my third fantasy novel in the Green Planet series, I was interrupted abruptly by a beautiful young resident that stayed on the property. She smiled sweetly and waved slightly. She was a lovely Afrikaans girl named Ria and she swiftly beckoned me to come and take a look at something.
I followed her without hesitation, pleased that she was finally giving me some attention. She took me around the corner to an open courtyard and pointed excitedly at an unusual looking creature lying in the corner. The creature had long stick like legs and long black pipe cleaner type ears. Its eyes reflected newborn innocence and the poor thing looked terrified. It attempted to stand up and make a dash for it, but it was unsteady on its shaky legs.
The newborn belonged to the two adult Springboks that lived on the property where I stay. It is an enormous plot and the owner is permitted to keep the beautiful creatures on his land. I was not aware of how the baby Springbok ended up all alone without its mother, but did not ask any questions and seized the opportunity to hold the beautiful creature.
The poor baby Springbok was quite afraid of me when I gently placed him in my arms. His legs dangled between my arms down to below my waist. His heart raced wildly in fear. I remember thinking to myself how incredible he looked with his unusual long and pointed face. But the thing that I recall more than anything was thinking to myself how few people there are that ever get to hold a Springbok in their arms.
To my relief the baby Springbok was soon reunited with his parents and spent most of his days firmly stapled to his mother’s milk. The baby Springbok grew up at a tremendous rate and before very long the three Springboks were fairly difficult to tell apart.
One morning I discovered that several leaves off my Geranium tree were missing and my first thought was that the owner of my property had picked them to grow his own Geranium plant. Not realizing for a moment that our Springbok herd was venturing further inwards towards the buildings on the property. Needless to say my Geranium tree had been picked clean the following morning. I wasn’t all that fussed though, my plant needed a good pruning. I decided to transfer my plant to the safety of my home, where it would have a chance to sprout a couple of new leaves.
On occasion I have spotted the Springbok family walking up close to my home. They walk across the cement paving and usually don’t even notice me inside. When they do see me they respond by bouncing back to the open grass area like pogo sticks on steroids. The way they literally spring away is a real sight to see. It is a known fact that the Springbok can jump 3.5 meters high when they are on the run, not to mention an amazing top running speed of 90km/h.
According to Wikipedia - Springboks are known as mixed feeders which mean that they graze off the ground as well as pick leaves and flowers off trees (browsing). An interesting fact about the Springbok is that it requires very little water to survive and can quite easily sustain itself by sucking the moisture off leaves and flowers before dawn.
I also discovered that Springboks are a part of the largest herds ever documented. Up to the nineteenth century there had been Springbok herds recorded of over 250 000 strong.
I love my amazing new pets where I live and would not trade them for any dog or cat on offer. That feeling of waking up in the morning and being completely one with nature wild, adds a whole new dimension to the freedom I enjoy in this life.