Written by: Brian Jones (manager, Moholoholo)
Some of you may have seen the hilarious video where the beloved Stoffel the honey badger 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.
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 because humans had imprinted him by such a young age. He caused havoc in the rehab centre – killing small bucks, rabbits and even an adult tawny eagle.
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, we decided to put him in a quarter-hectare (2 500m2 ) camp with natural trees and grass. However, he broke out of the camp to fight with the lions, ending up in the hospital clinic for two months. He was then put back in his camp at which point 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 – in spite of the staff trying different measures to prevent his escape.
In short, a human-imprinted honey badger can be a problem in captivity. However, Stoffel the honey badger will remain loved by all at Moholoholo, and for all who come to visit the centre. He an ambassador for his species.
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