“It has been a great privilege to be able to witness his story, and to see him flourish in spite of the hand he had been dealt.”
– Mr Botha
Lalangokuthula | Zorora Murugare | Rest in Peace, Pelican – Mr B, with his friend Joe Hanly, shares some sad news from Hwange’s Linkwasha Concession…
On the morning of the 2nd of September, while Pelican was out fishing, he was viciously attacked by a hippo bull. Sadly the injuries he sustained were fatal and he died two days later.
So tragic that his life ended this way, as a piece of Hwange has been lost forever. It was a sad moment for all of us, but Pelican will be fondly remembered for his true friendship, and sharing his adventures in Hwange.
Pelican’s is a small story of courage against adversity. He was abandoned at Big Sam by the rest of his squadron on the 22nd April 2015, as his wing was broken and he could not continue the journey with them. From that day, he made Big Sam his home, and in spite of his disability he simply carried on with life.
Making friends from all walks of bush life, be it buffalo or elephant, heron or hornbill, all became part of his day-to-day exploits. His introduction to Mr B was the start of a great friendship that boosted Pelican to celebrity status and Hwange icon. Through that, he became known to his followers all around the world, and he received hundreds of visitors each year.
Of course with all this new attention, he became very image conscious and made every effort to ensure he always looked respectable. A huge part of his survival depended on his ability to fish, and it did not take long for him to adapt to fishing for catfish at Big Sam. He quickly picked up that when the elephant or buffalo waded into the water, the catfish were disturbed and he could catch them quite easily, often swimming right between the elephant, at great risk of being trampled.
He witnessed many wonderful things at Big Sam, and over the years he too became part of that story. It has been a great privilege to be able to witness his story, and to see him flourish in spite of the hand he had been dealt. Through the different seasons, he was a permanent fixture at Big Sam, and while we will miss him, he leaves behind an important legacy: Pelican was a symbol of survival, of endurance, of struggle, of courage, and of hope – truly a symbol of Hwange ‘Against All Odds’.
Photographs by Mike Myers and Mary-Anne van der Byl
Post courtesy of Wilderness Safaris