Badji is a honey badger that was rescued in the Western Cape wandering down a road by himself as a young badger. At 11 months, he arrived at Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre for evaulation of whether his prospects for release would be good. After careful investigation and discussion with other facilities who had released badgers who had spent prolonged periods in captivity in close contact with humans, the chances of his survival was deemed to be slim and a joint decision with nature authorities and veterinary staff declared him unsuitable for release.
Honey Badgers are opportunistic predators, but they are known in the animal kingdom to be fearless and vicious. They have incredible strength in their forelimbs and long claws, they are adaptive, calculating and tenacious in their attempts to get access to their prey. Badji is all of these things, and more. He is gregarious, quite laid back as badgers go, and he believes all humans are his friends.
The two single biggest factors prohibiting his release are his lack of understanding that a chance encounter with humans will almost inevitably end in him being killed. And more interestingly, his lack of social “badger” skills could result in a fatal attack by a female badger.
Moholoholo is well known and respected for their wildlife rehabilitation work and positive awareness that they raise about Honey Badgers, having some very famous residents such as Stoffels who has done much to improve empathy towards Honey Badgers in human wildlife conflict situation. The team at Tenikwa decided that it was in the best interests of Badji to move him to a centre familiar with the challenges of managing badgers and where he could interact with other badgers and still contribute to conservation in a meaningful way. Moholoholo was the first and obvious choice and Tenikwa was delighted when Moholoholo, after hearing his story, agreed to accept Badji.
Through a partnership with Airlink, who frequently comes to the assistance of Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre with rescue and release situation, Badji was given royal treatment in his specially secured transportation box. Mandy Freeman, co-founder of Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre said, “Airlink generously sponsored Badji’s flight to Hoedspruit. This took some maneouvering to ensure that his journey took the shortest route and time, and Airlink staff were on hand to ensure minimum handling and a safe passage. Airlink recently also sponsored the flight of some young primates through to a primate rehabilitation centre, and we are really grateful for Airlink’s contribution towards supporting conservation in a meaningful way”
Whilst the staff at Tenikwa are sad to say goodbye to Badji, we know that Moholoholo will take good care of him and we are happy that he will have badger company and be able to live the most natural life that is available to him.
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