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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.

baby-aardvark
© Andrew Bowden

The tiny aardvark, estimated to be no older than three months, arrived on our bushveldt doorstep after his mother had been shot by a farmer. 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 aardvark, 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.

baby-rescued-aardvark
© Jack Somerville
Africa Geographic Travel
baby
© 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 the chance to fully embrace his natural aardvark instincts, as 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.

rescued-baby
© Andrew Bowden
aardvark
© Andrew Bowden
tiny-aardvark
© Jack Somerville

And Barkie has given us insight into the aardvark world – a world that 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

rescued
© Jack Somerville
rescue-aardvark
© Jack Somerville

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The award-winning N/a’an ku sê Foundation was started in 2006 to protect and improve the lives of the people and wildlife of Namibia. The mission of the N/a’an ku sê Foundation is to conserve the land, cultures and wildlife of Namibia and rescue species threatened by an ever-shrinking habitat. N/a’an ku sê means “God will protect us” in the beautiful clicking language of the San - a language which Marlice van Vuuren, the founder of the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary, speaks fluently, having spent her life deeply involved with the San culture.

Africa Geographic Travel
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