Little Cat Lost.

15 years ago, while living in Tanzania, something truly remarkable happened and I am going to share it with you, my esteemed readers. The whole event remains to this day to be one of my most cherished and evocative memories. 

One day our family received news that some kids were trying to sell a leopard cub at the gate to our house. Now, since my father worked in conservation, he was more than a little concerned and upon meeting them managed to convince them that they had broken the law. Since the wrong-doing was indeed true and he was, in a sense, an official he had no choice but to confiscate the animal. Before leaving they told us that they had originally found two kittens up in the mountains behind our house but that one had died on the way down. The little animal was taken into our care and we quickly realised in fact that he was not a leopard at all; He was in fact a Serval Cat.
At first we didn't know whether he was going to make it or not but we eventually managed to succeed in feeding him milk through a syringe and around two days later he began to show more signs of life. The following photographs chart his recovery and subsequent growth into a healty young Serval.

The day that he was rescued.
This was the initial point where we didn't know if he'd make it.
Moving up in the world and onto the bottle.
His friend and mine, Poley the Teddy.
His sleeping companion. I think he missed his brother.
One of his favourite places of rest (my dad's crotch).
You can clearly see his little blue eyes here.

Getting up to mischief.
When he was a little older, he was taken by some Swedish friends, who named him Sylvester, to be released at Tony Fitzjohn's place. He was part of the Born Free foundation and was a real 'Out of Africa' type. I remember him being brilliantly eccentric and I was immediatley fond of and captivated by him. His huge ranch was up on the borderline with Kenya and was known as Mkomazi Game Reserve, since given National Park status. About a year since we had first rescued Sylvester we finally managed to visit him in his new home and saw him when he was semi-wild. We heard later that he still liked to hang around Tony's but that his visits were becoming less and less frequent. Then one day he simply vanished into the winderness and he never came back. He was truly free.


The only photo we got of Sylvester in the wild. I will remember him always. 
UPDATE:



I found another picture of a full grown Sylvester being held by Tony Fitzjohn who re-habilitated him to the wild. Tony must be the single most charismatic person I have ever met. He is a real living legend and I do not use the word 'legend' lightly. Read about this extraordinary man HERE.


6 comments:

Draven Darkke said...

Brilliant.

Wine Splodge said...

Sylvester has warmed my cockles too. What a lovely tale.

Wine Splodge said...

Sylvester has warmed my cockles too. What a lovely tale.

Maria said...

Great story! and a great wild cat. Truely beautiful. I have never seen such a wild cat before.

Style Scanner said...

This has to be just about the cutest blog post I've ever read!

Yoann Reininger said...

He looks so fierce as an adult. It's beautiful.