It is official: December 30th and the Turgwe River is in full flood and I can stop feeding all the hippos. We have now had rain to get the grass growing and it has been sufficient of late to allow me to cut the food down and I will be able to stop feeding altogether.
December 30th BonBon moves from the deeper channel which is too fast flowing to a shallow part of the river
With the river in flood the hippos will move from their normal pools and not come along to the feeding stations. I will be able to stop feeding now after a year of helping these hippos and other wild animals. 2016 has been a year of huge challenge, a great deal of hard physical work but with the best results coming from all the hippos supporters. You have enabled the Turgwe Hippo Trust to save the lives of 19 hippos and over 200 other wild animals. The donations, adoptions, sales of merchandise as well as tremendous help and support from Laura Simpson of the Harmony Fund USA, thanks also to Adventure Aquarium USA, Big Yellow UK, Meryl Harrison and the Aware Trust UK, along with so many individuals, have made it possible to supply hay, game nuts, survival meal, transport, cabbages, and keep all these animals alive during the second harshest drought since 1992. The Trust has fed the following species: Hippos, elephants, buffalo, eland, wildebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, grysbok, kudu, zebra, bush pig, warthog, baboons, Vervet monkeys, civet, scrub hare, porcupine. Predators like lion and hyena benefited from eating the odd animal we were helping, but again that is a natural survival code.
Thanks to: Sandra Gaines, USA, her beautiful hippo jewellery pieces were donated to the Trust and raised funds when included in a raffle. Suzie Marsh sculpture, UK, brought in much needed assistance. Jill Robinson and Wendy Leadbeater of Animals Asia helped with personal donations.
Then all the volunteers and guests who came along this year. Well, they all were generous with their physical help and donations. This kept the food coming in and the animals fed.
To all the children who have helped by raising funds at their schools or giving up birthday gifts to help these hippos.
I hope you know that you are the future of our planet and we love each and every one of you.
My book A HIPPO LOVE STORY published by Penguin continues to bring in funds for the Turgwe Hippo Trust as did articles written for Africa Geographic SA and the Leander Club UK.
I thank everyone who has helped these amazing animals this year and hope that you all realise that you did actively save lives. Without you we could not have fed the animals, without you many would have died. Without you the Turgwe Hippo Trust could not function. Without you, at times I would not have had the strength to keep going, but thanks to your emails and moral support, I could. I want you all to go into 2017 knowing that you are kind, good people and that you all deserve to have a wonderful year.
Our grateful thanks to the games scouts and Silas my assistant, who have worked extra hours and fed alongside me throughout this entire year.
Huge thanks to Steve Gordon Canada (videos), Mark Powell UK (youTube), Sarah Chilvers UK (calendars, books and photo sets), Patrick J France (Web master & design), Suzie Marsh UK (books), Tabitha Logan USA (books), Cinda Lautenschlager USA (newsletters), Maya & Anne Donelan (Friends of Turgwe Hippo Trust), Anne Wilkinson (Friends of Turgwe Hippo Trust), Alex & Pam van Leenhoff (accommodating volunteers), Oskar & Linda Rothen (accommodating volunteers).
As well as a very special thank you to Jean-Roger for helping me wherever he could and at times having to do things that were definitely not what he expected when he married me. Yet nevertheless he has managed to succeed, and be there for me and the hippos throughout 2016.
With my love and hippo hugs to every single one of you, and I salute you all.
Xxx Karen Paolillo, Turgwe Hippo Trust, Hippo Haven, Zimbabwe, 2016.