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The story of Stoffel the honey badger

Written by: Brian Jones

Some of you may have seen the hilarious video where the beloved Stoffel of Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre attempts multiple escapes from his enclosure. Some questions have been raised as to why Stoffel was in an enclosure in the first place, so we would like to share with you Stoffel’s story from our side.

Badger2

Stoffel was hand raised by a farmer in the area where he caused chaos in the house. He was brought to Moholoholo about 18 years ago where he was allowed to roam free with the other two female honey badgers at the centre. These females eventually went back to the wild but Stoffel stayed due to the fact that he had been imprinted by humans by such a young age. He caused havoc in the rehab centre killing small bucks, rabbits and even an adult tawny eagle.

Badger1

He also visited the local lodge where management received frantic calls for help as Stoffel chased the kitchen staff out the kitchen, taking over as he helped himself to the tasty food in the kitchen. At another time he visited guest rooms; tearing open handbags to get to what was inside.

Eventually Moholoholo was forced to put him in a quarter hectare camp with natural trees and grass. However he broke out of camp to fight with the lions, ending up in the hospital clinic for two months. He was then put back in his camp whereupon he immediately tried to get back to the lions.

In the end Moholoholo was sponsored by Rotary Club to build Stoffel a brick house. Yet, after only a few hours in his new home, he escaped again and again in spite of the staff trying different measures to hinder him.

In short a human imprinted honey badger can be a problem. However Stoffel will remain loved by all at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and for all who come to visit the centre, he is an ambassador for his species.

Africa Geographic Editorial

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

  • Haloge

    Well done Stoffel. You just made it onto the Telegraph Blogs comments. Definitely more interesting than politics.

    Best of luck Stoffel. Hope all goes well.

    Yay for the Honigdachs!!!

  • science_fan

    Just saw the documentary about Stoffel last night. He seems remarkably intelligent. Wondering if enrichment or toys added to his enclosure might help keep him occupied.

    • 1bestdog

      I wondered about that too. He must be bored out of his mind, like a backyard dog, or any animal in captivity. Then when they replaced the wire fence with a brick wall now he doesn’t even have a view of the world. They really need to make part of the enclosure a wire fence, just not one with a gate.. And find something for him to do. He is such an amazing clever fellow I hate to think of his spirit broken.

  • Tahoedirt

    The best part is all the mischief he gets into- If he was well behaved we’d never have heard about him. Keep it up Stoffel- Give em he’ll !!

  • Polina

    Why don’t they just send him back to the wild? He obviously doesn’t want to be pent up. This seems cruel to me, not very funny.

    • wakeupkent

      Sigh. Did you even read the article at all?

      “These females eventually went back to the wild but Stoffel stayed due to the fact that he had been imprinted by humans by such a young age.”

      “In short a human imprinted honey badger can be a problem.”

      Clearly, they don’t believe he’d be able to survive in the wild or else they would have released him along with the females.

      • jzipps

        Everything this little dude does is a suicide mission. He’d be dead within hours if released.

        • GeeArr

          Not true. 1/4 of his diet is poidonous snakes. He can disable a lion or hyena by biting them in very tender places. He’d be dead only because a farmer would just shoot him. Stoffel had been trapped and kept by a farmer to turn him over to the rescue center in order to save his life. He is very very clever. Stoffel and his mate, Haney, are given tasks such as testing out bee hives to see if them can break into them. An apiarist is trying to design a honey badger proof bee hive. In the 3 efforts shown on film that he tested with Stoffel & Haney, the designs all failed. They don’t give up.

          • jzipps

            You facted all over my joke, sir.

          • steven meyer

            Did you miss the part where the Lions sent him to Honey Badger emergency for two months.

  • He tries to fight with lions! That part made me laugh. Go Stoffel!

  • Sappho

    #HufflepuffPride!

  • Julia

    More videos of Stoffel!

  • Sandra Parshall

    I feel so deeply sorry for this poor animal, imprisoned and denied anything approaching a normal life. He needs to be free.

    • steven meyer

      Read the story.

  • Lord Lazy

    What a legend!

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