Happy New Year everyone.
Towards the end of last year I went to teach at the White Lion Leadership Academy at Tsau Conservancy home of the Global White Lion Protection Trust. Most of you who are aware of the trust’s work, know that it’s not only about White Lions. To protect the Lion, we have to care for and protect every animal around them and the environment in which they co-exist. When Neil Bone, manager of Mbube Reserve, part of the conservancy, asked me to help with a Hyaena who had been caught in a snare, I was very ready. Along with the academy students I started the communications.
It is quite a fascinating story from start to finish. Neil had set up a camera trap a while before in order to observe what mysteries come to explore the area. Many sightings of all sorts of animals were captured, Painted Dog, Leopard and among others, a pair of Hyaena. The animals would move past the camera without pause. Except in this particular case. The male Hyaena walked up to the camera and turned his head left and right, as if he was deliberately wanting to show that there was something wrong. The snare was cutting deep into his flesh, it was plain to see.
He had somehow managed to chew through the wire attaching the snare to the ground, but then he was stuck with the wire looped around his neck, cutting in with each breathe.
Neil set up a box trap in order to try and capture him so that the snare could be removed by the vet. He would not survive for long if it was left.
Once the box was set up it was a matter of waiting for the Hyaena to walk in and take the bait, releasing the spring so that the gate would shut and trap him in the box, ready for the vet to treat him. Easier said than done. He was extremely curious, but also cautious. No matter how well one might disguise a trap cage, wild animals know that it is something unusual and are naturally wary of it. Having worked with the baboons on the Cape Peninsula for many years and often having to encourage them into a trap, I knew it was crucial to communicate with our Hyaena the exact reasons why he needed to go in and to be completely honest about what would happen once he was in.
As humans we so often think we have explained the reason to our beloved four-legged friends why they need to go the vet, the kennels or behave in a manner that is unnatural for them. Generally people are not very specific and will say ” It’s for your own good” or “to make you better” or “to keep you safe”. In my experience I have found, especially when dealing with wild animals who have no reason to trust humans, it is important to describe the whole process of what is going to happen to them, from beginning to end.
I instructed my students to connect in with our spotted friend by sending absolute, unconditional love to him. I then asked them all as one group to visualise him walking into the box, the gate coming down and trapping him in, and him remaining calm, then the vet approaching the trap and injecting him, him falling asleep, the snare being cut off and removed, then him being released back strong and healthy. I instructed Neil and the volunteers at Mbube to do the same. One fear came up that the vet would not be able to help and he would end up being euthenased. When we have any fears whilst we are in communication with the animals, the fear energy blocks the communication. Fear is the direct opposite energy to love, and love is the connective force of every being in the universe. How do we deal with these fears? This was a very real fear of having to face the death of a beloved being. We turn it around… we see the potential euthenase as a gift of freedom from suffering. I told the group to visualise him running free, strong and healthy. Even if it means in spirit! but not to focus on the fear surrounding that, to just hold the image of him being released from the box trap, and being healed.
Another thing that I instructed my students to do was to relay this message with a sense of joy and laughter. This is incredibly important, if there is any heaviness within us whilst we are communicating this gets received along with the positive instruction and it can prevent clarity.
I received a message from the Hyaena that he will go into the trap, but only when he feels he really needs our help. He had been looking surprisingly strong despite the slow strangulation. I passed on the message to Neil and his team, and told him patience was called for.
A few days later, our friend had felt the time was right and had indeed gone into the trap. He had suddenly become very weak, and there was no doubt in his mind and ours that he needed help.
Everything went amazingly well. The wound was deep and awful looking, but Pete Rogers, the vet cleaned it and treated it beautifully. He was able to be released soon after.
What a joyous occasion that was!
In African tradition the role of the Hyaena is to expose the darkness and bring it out into the light so that it can be observed and dealt with. The Hyaena, as a totem animal, asks us to fulfill our promises and to take what is ours when necessary. Hyaenas in the physical, are very social and communal animals, so they work better in a group.
All these qualities apply to this particular communication: The Hyaena brought the “darkness” of the poacher’s snare into the light by showing it clearly on the camera trap, in our communication we made a promise to help him and then release him in freedom strong and healthy once more, this was fulfilled. We worked as a group to send this message to him, which made it stronger and work far better than if it was only one person communicating with him, through all the other people’s fears.
This whole story is such a brilliant example of how interspsecies communication can make conservation and rescue work so much easier and more successful. A deep gratitude to the Hyaena of Mbube for listening and trusting us.
Learn from the comfort of your home…
More and more people are signing up for my on-line correspondence course, creating a wonderful community from all over the world of like minded people who love and want to communicate with animals. If you would like to join this community and learn one-on-one with me and the added support of group skype sessions and interaction, please go to my course page.
Wishing every one of you all the very best blessings for 2015, and I hope to meet you soon
Photos courtesy of the Global White Lion Protection Trust, with thanks to Neil Bone.