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Africa Geographic Travel

Meet Barkie, an aardvark baby brought to the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary in late February 2014. Barkie found protection and love in the doting hands of the N/a’an ku sê team.

© Andrew Bowden

The tiny aardvark, estimated to be no older than three months, arrived on our bushveldt doorstep after a farmer had shot his mother. Tragically this is a common occurrence in Namibia, where farmers and landowners heavily depend on their livestock to eke a living out of this desert land. The natural burrowing and digging behaviour of aardvarks, inadvertently causes holes in fences that allow the livestock to escape, making them vulnerable to free-roaming carnivores.

Sadly, aardvarks have gained an increasingly negative reputation – a reputation wholly misunderstood. Barkie’s mother herself suffered this fate, with her helpless baby thankfully being taken pity on and laid in the protecting hands of N/a’an ku sê.

© Jack Somerville
Africa Geographic Travel
© Jack Somerville

Barkie became an overnight sensation, his small pink body devoid of hair, clothed lovingly in pyjamas for the icy winter nights. Feeding pre-dominantly on termites and ground-dwelling insects, Barkie is joined by a group of volunteers on his daily bush walks. This gives him a chance to embrace his natural aardvark instincts fully. At N/a’an ku sê, we carefully consider the natural needs of every orphan, tending away from the feeling of “captivity”. Instead, we create an environment where their instinctive behaviours are nurtured and encouraged.

© Andrew Bowden
© Andrew Bowden
© Jack Somerville

And Barkie has given us insight into the aardvark world – a world we have barely scratched the surface of. The behaviour of these elusive creatures has remained largely undiscovered – but with Barkie’s help, we hope to erase the misunderstood reputation of these magnificent mammals.

More about aardvarks here: 9 Amazing facts about aardvarks

© Jack Somerville
© Jack Somerville

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Africa Geographic Travel
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