Wild Things Wring Our Hearts Inside Out

by Naomi on October 31, 2011

in Daily Life, Wildlife

Wildlife photographer and videographer, Dave Estment, filming rhino

There’s such truth in the saying that “When one door closes, another opens.” We recently experienced this in technicolour. Believe it or not, regular readers and long-time friends: Dave made a momentous decision 3 weeks ago, namely to retire from motorbike racing (after an on-off period of around 35 years). He’ll still ride of course, when he feels like it, but is relaxing into the freedom of choice ๐Ÿ™‚

This implies a significant time and energy boost for our wildlife photography and videography business. So guess what happened? Less than a week later, a phenomenal videography project emerged, at very short notice, which we were freshly in a position to embrace. It entailed an epic 2 week adventure (and ongoing participation) that aims to help save the rhino from potentially imminent extinction (due to wide-scale poaching for their horn) – a cause that’s especially close to our hearts being involved in wildlife photography.

We’ll share details of this project as time goes by, but I can’t resist posting a few photo’s from our trip, to give you a peek into what we’ve been up to, for the lion’s share of the last 2 weeks. The above image shows Dave in action, followed by just one of the spectacular sunset scenes we were treated to:

African sunset with rhino's

Rhino's at sunset - South Africa

. . . and a particular highlight in the form of meeting Smurf, an utterly adorable 6-week-old rhino. Smurf’s mom abandoned him, probably due to inexperience as he’s her first-born, with the result that he’s being hand-reared – currently on milk, fed to him from 2 l coke bottles. You can’t imagine how swiftly he glugs it! That stunningly soft mouth suckles almost anything that moves, around knee height, including our video camera:

Rhino calf close up

Smurf the Rhino Calf sucking Dave's video camera!

While we were off in the African bush, our beloved Jina vanished on an adventure of her own, which sent her missing in action for a full week. She left while we were away and my stepson was kindly looking after things for us, only to return at midnight on Friday. THANK YOU all who commented so understandingly on my Facebook post – correctly guessing how heart-wrenching this was! I’m so happy to share this pic of her in our garden, along with the news of her safe return, albeit painfully thin. It goes without saying that we’re in the process of spoiling her as much as possible ๐Ÿ™‚

Norwegian Forest Cat (Wegie)

Our beautiful Jina, who is safely home!

For those who don’t know, Jina is a Wegie (Norwegian Forest Cat), one of the most recently domesticated breeds of cats . . . and it shows. Still, we wouldn’t change her for the world!

What is it about wild things that wrings our hearts inside out? I reckon it has to do with their innate sense of freedom and unfettered “beingness”, which us humans could do so well to emulate, rather than raping what remains of our natural heritage – with rhino’s being in the direct line of fire.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

DavE October 31, 2011 at 10:22 am

I definitely want a baby Rhino for Christmas!
More playful than most dogs, especially if it has been cooped up in a 5×5 pen and you take it out on its first free-range adventure, and they have jelly mouths instead of teeth.
Great shot, Nome!


Naomi October 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

I’m totally with you, thanks Babe! Talk about an experience of a lifetime! Must put in a good word for Quest, though, who is at least as playful ๐Ÿ˜€


Tammy October 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Oh my goodness, this was fun to read. I love your recent adventures and of course, those photos are amazing. Love the sunset and the baby rhino. So happy your kitty is home too!


Naomi November 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Thank you, Tammy – for your kind words, for appreciating it all and for caring about Jina – big hug from me and nuzzle from her!


[email protected] October 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm

What a sunset! What an adventure – what great hearts you two possess.

I hope Dave can position himself gracefully into one of the Elder Statesman. Dabbling may not have Dave’s adrenalin flowing quite so much, but it will stabilize your heart, Naomi.

There’s great victory in the fact that Jina returned home unscathed except for a bit of hunger. She knows where she wants to be. Figured you two needn’t be the only ones off on an adventure.

The very best to all involved in saving the Rhinos. It’s my good fortune that I don’t meet those cruel poachers face to face. I would face death if I had to be near them because I know my peaceful nature would be overruled by horror.


Naomi November 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Amy – you’re a darling! Would love to know what Jina & Duc would make of each other; seems to me they have similarly wild spirits ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m right with you on the poacher scenario – beyond belief! Will keep you posted on progress…XO


Kate Shrewsday November 1, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Naomi, over the moon that Jina is back. What a beauty she is, you must be so relieved. Your baby rhino is just gorgeous. I hope very much that Dave enjoys the change of focus…And the news of the filming…breathtaking!


Naomi November 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Thank You, Kate! We really appreciate your kind thoughts for Jina, and support of our other projects – it means so much! XO


Tokeloshe November 2, 2011 at 12:35 am

Stunning photos!
I like the one of Dave (The photographer) and that sunset!
Glad Jina’s ok, she is a beaut ๐Ÿ˜‰


Naomi November 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm

THANKS, Tok – much appreciated, also by Dave & Jina ๐Ÿ˜‰ You’re a sweetheart!


sideview November 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm

oh wow! I so hope we can persuade the Asians who think it’s medicinal to stop this killing. Today there is a report of the head of a rhino poaching outfit being detained at ORT. Hopefully he rots away in jail here for the rest of his life.

so glad your Jina has come home and is ok. It breaks ones heart if they go missing


Naomi November 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Couldn’t agree more, Sidey. Thanks so much for your caring thoughts for Jina too…it wasn’t fun for a few days there!


sonsothunder November 5, 2011 at 7:06 am

Heh, something tells me you couldn’t do anything to spoil Jina a bit more than she already is.. She is absolutely Beautiful…and Knows it I’m pretty sure. We have somewhere between 25 and 40 rescued ( haven’t updated the head count lately ) …or offspring from rescued ones outside that we feed, and two who are blessed, and hygienically wise enough to be Indoor Outdoor cats.
They are actually a Father and Daughter team, Beanie and Dumplin…He’s a Huge Gray and White fluffy (Plume Tailed)…something or other, and she is a blue eyed Siamix, with Beanies, Tale Tale Plume Tail.

Not being a wildlife photographer, or having anything but a Kodak easyshare …I am a little embarrassed at the photos I have to offer… of them, but, I am actually working on a little post starring “Dumplin” as we speak…

They epitomize the old adage:
“They once worshiped Cats in Ancient Egypt, and mine NEVER let me forget it”!

Oh, one other thing, I think the possibility of Dave staying off the Enduro Trials Trail…will probably mirror, and maybe even align with Jina’s scheduled roaming’s…He’ll probably stop again next year, just as Jina disappears…for a week…Just my opinion…and everyone’s entitled to it…as Usual!!!
Bless You and Keep up the great work.


Naomi November 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm

OMG, Paul, it sounds as though you have your hands full with all those cats! How wonderful of you to care for them all, and generous of Beanie & Dumplin to tolerate the rest…I don’t think Jina would for a moment, she’s squarely in the ‘worship me’ camp ๐Ÿ˜€ and yes, you’re right, we do dote on her, especially me!

Perhaps I’m being blonde, but can’t say I understand the last part of your comment…will just say that it’s a great pleasure having Dave contentedly retired and Jina contentedly home ๐Ÿ™‚


sonsothunder November 8, 2011 at 1:10 am

lol, sorry, was just joking, and stating an opinion based on observation and roaming patterns of a few of the cats here. Beanie, whom after viewing the Wiki Link you provided for the Norwegian Wood Cat, is very likely of that precise breed…in fact, @ 3 months he looked a LOT like the gray and white one pictured as the 3 month old at the bottom of the Wiki Post.
Tolerate is a very accurate word, as though most of the others hang close to the house, he and Dumplin both prefer wooded areas across the field, and when here in the yard, pretty much only observe the others from a distance. They all know Beanie is the king of the jungle around here…and he never lets them forget it. ( and Dumplin is Princess)

As far as Dave staying home, I have no doubts there… at least as far as not running a competitive “Trials” circuit. But, I personally know a little about having 1 part Two Cycle Oil running through the veins…Hard to give it up completely.
Bless You both


Naomi November 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Okay, see what you mean – yes, there’s definitely something about the “cycle oil” running throught the veins, but not to worry, Dave certainly hasn’t stopped riding; only racing ๐Ÿ˜€

Beanie sounds spectacular (typical Wegie ;-)) and Dumplin like the perfect princess – good for them!


Nadira November 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm

What an interesting life you seem to be leading…so close to nature and as close as you get to the undiluted truth about life and living. And that is such a breathtaking sunset. Thanks fro sharing that with us. Glad too that Jina is back.I can imagine how worried and sad you must’ve been. She is such a stunner!!. Do keep sharing your experiences with us and allow us to have some glimpses:-)


Naomi November 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment, Nadira. It’s great to hear from you! It’s our pleasure and privilege to mingle with nature, and share a little of that experience – thank you for appreciating ๐Ÿ™‚


Otto von Mรผnchow November 6, 2011 at 11:14 am

What a fun project – and so important. I really enjoyed reading the post. And good pictures along with the text. Good luck with the project.


Naomi November 7, 2011 at 10:11 am

Thanks very much, Otto! We really appreciate your kind words and caring support of this project. All the best, Naomi


Mands November 30, 2011 at 10:07 am

Naomi the photos are gorgeous and make me want to climb inside and participate… and your words as always flow so naturally I usually spend too much time on your blog. *Smile* Thank-you so much for sharing…. I could never choose between Jina and Smurf and would want them both… *Smile* I am hoping your heartache is filled with love and special Jina purrs. Have an awesome day, thanks so much Mands


Naomi December 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Hi Mands, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment! I’m right with you on wanting both – and Jina is filling our home up with her special purrs, thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a beautiful rest of your week, xo


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