Besides the people, I like the animals of Uganda too. By this time in history, the people have unfortunately killed off most of the wild animals, except for the snakes, and I have only ever seen one of those, the birds, the monkeys, and an occasional baboon. You can only find most native animals in the game preserves on the far western side in the great rift valley. So most of my interactions with animals in Uganda are confined to the domestic variety.

Ugandans regard animals as “function” not friend. The dogs are for security, the cats to control pests, the chickens, dirt-ducks, turkeys, goats, sheep and cattle for food. So when I pay any attention at all to the animals, it seems strange, I’m sure, to the Ugandans – some odd musungu behavior that is beyond them. They mostly kick them out of the way to keep them in their place or simply ignore them totally. We westerners are always trying to make relationships. I’m sure this says much about our different cultures, and perhaps the fact that some westerners make better relationships with their pets than with the people around them speaks volumes.

I am undaunted in my campaign to meet and relate to these much neglected creatures who live beside and in among the Ugandans but do not know them and are not appreciated individually. Here are some of my recent Ugandan adventures with its creatures:

A Waisana kitten for mousing, a mighty warrior lion in this little body that continually attacked my shoelaces the whole time I was there.

A Waisana kitten for mousing, a mighty warrior lion in this little body that continually attacked my shoelaces the whole time I was there. I gave her the only petting or attention she will probably ever receive in her life.

stork

The large storks watch over everything like wise old men.

 

 

 

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I saw a colony of these each night when I climbed the hill to find a cell signal to call home. One night I counted around 50 of them. Whenever I tried to get closer to get a good shot, the mothers chased them all into the forest.

These chicks are blue. They have been dyed. At first I thought it was some Easter thing, but then I learned that they dye the chicks so that the hawks cannot recognize them as food and scoop them up for dinner.

These chicks are blue. They have been dyed. At first I thought it was some Easter thing, but then I learned that they dye the chicks so that the hawks cannot recognize them as food and scoop them up for dinner.

When this little one approached me, he asked the famous storybook question, "Are you my mother?" There was no mother in sight. I gave it some attention and it wanted to stay with me forever. But I explained, "No, little one, you live on Buvuma Island. Your life will be hard. Learn to scavenge and survive. There are no vets here to care for you." He did not like it. His face says it all.

When this little one approached me, he asked the famous storybook question, “Are you my mother?” There was no mother in sight. I gave it some attention and it wanted to stay with me forever. But I explained, “No, little one, you live on Buvuma Island. Your life will be hard. Learn to scavenge and survive. There are no vets here to care for you.” He did not like it. His face says it all.

This little beauty, a couple of weeks old, was comfortably hunkered down in the grass near my guesthouse on Buvuma Island. She had no fear of me at all, and I scratched her ears, which she seemed to enjoy. She will learn about humans...

This little beauty, a couple of weeks old, was comfortably hunkered down in the grass near my guesthouse on Buvuma Island. She had no fear of me at all, and I scratched her ears, which she seemed to enjoy. She will learn about humans…

goat

This goat is not dead. We found him lying along the road in jut this condition. I thought it had been hit by a car. But no, my companion explained, he is asleep. He picked up the head and rubbed the neck, and the eyes flickered, the ears twitched. The dang thing WAS asleep. Perhaps it is related to the famous Tennessee Fainting Goats. We walked on and I turned around to look back. Another man had come up, since the goat was lying partway in the road, he was applying standard Ugandan animal management – he kicked it. Sure enough, the goat was now standing in the grass, though it looked a bit dazed.

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