On the move

Heavy showers at night herald the rainy season. Andreas and I prepare to leave for Germany for a couple of weeks during monsoon.
A few days before our departure I am alarmed by a small rat snake in Bhagya's enclosure, so I arrange for fine wire mesh to be attached all around the enclosure to prevent pythons or poisonous snakes, looking for a dry place and easy prey, from entering.

Bhagya shortly before our departure

Puran walking with Bhagya

During our absence Puran and Maya take care of Bhagya. When it doesn't rain, Puran takes him for walks.

In August I meet Prof. Dr. Nogge, Director of the Cologne Zoo and ask for his assistance in searching for a new home for Bhagya. He informs me that most European zoos participate in breeding programs for endangered species, but that Bhagya belongs to a subspecies of leopard that is not endangered and consequently not bred. He doubts whether a European zoo would be ready to take on a cat that does not fit into the breeding program and advises me to keep Bhagya at Tiger Mountain Farms. He also tells me about Sally Walker who founded the Zoo Outreach Organisation in India and may be able to help find a place in a good Indian zoo.

Dirk Petzold is editor of the "Zoopresseschau" and offers to publish an advertisement. He is also not optimistic about the chance of rehousing Bhagya in a European zoo and refers me to Sally Walker.

Only Birga Dexel raises my hopes again. On behalf of the German Society for Nature Conservation (NABU) she coordinates a Snow Leopard Project in Kirgistan and has found a new home for a young female snow leopard, who was rescued from a poacher's trap.

On my return to Kathmandu I find an email from Gerard de Nijs, who has read the advertisement in "Zoopresseschau". Gerard works for the Dutch Foundation AAP, a rescue-station for monkeys and other exotic animals. He offers to help me in my search for a new home for Bhagya.

When late in the afternoon I reach Tharu Farm, Maya welcomes me first. In a hurry I show her how to operate the camcorder to record our reunion. Contrary to all doubts of friends and family, Bhagya definitely recognizes me and is already climbing the wire mesh impatiently when he sees me approaching.

He has become big and already has long legs. When standing on his hind legs his head almost reaches my hip by now. And he is hardy and healthy.

Reunion in August
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