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Authors: Tony Fitzjohn

Born Wild

BOOK: Born Wild
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Born Wild

Born Wild

The Extraordinary Story of
One Man's Passion for Lions and for Africa




Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3
(a division of Pearson Canada Inc.)

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
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Published in Viking Canada hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada), a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 2010
Simultaneously published in the United States by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (RRD)

Copyright © Tony Fitzjohn, 2010

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Manufactured in the U.S.A.

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To the Creatures of the Wild


List of Illustrations

List of Maps

1.  End of the Line

2.  Meeting George

3.  One of the Pride

4.  Pride before a Fall

5.  Trial by Simba

6.  Assistant No More

7.  The End of the Game

8.  Back to the Future

9.  Hunting High and Low

10. Homeward Bound

11. No Free Parking

12. Back on Track


The Kora Family Tree


List of Illustrations

Section One

1.  Leaving Southampton, 1968

2.  Kora Hills from the air

3.  Kampi ya Simba

4.  Life at Kora: (a) Kora Rock; (b) Myself, George and Terence (photo: Terry Fincher); (c) Shared breakfast in the mess (photo: Terry Fincher); (d) George does office work in the mess (photo: George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust); (e) Waiting for the lions (photo: Terry Fincher)

5.  Growing up with Christian: (a) With George by the Tana river; (b) Sharing a quiet moment; (c) Early days with Christian; (d) On Christian's Rock (e) Tracking on Boy's Lugga (photo: Terry Fincher)

6.  Freddie was bottle-fed until he was five months old

7.  With Freddie

8.  Freddie and Leakey pause for a drink

9.  Doum palms along the river road

10.  Fishing on the Tana in spate (photo: Terry Fincher)

11.  The waterpoint on the Tana river

12.  Resting with Freddie and Arusha (photo: Lindsay Bell)

13.  Gigi, Arusha and Freddie playing (photo: Lindsay Bell)

14.  Freddie gets a lift and Gigi tries to join in (photo: Lindsay Bell)

15.  Arusha, Freddie and George on the Tana river walk

16.  I was here to stay (photo: Terry Fincher)

17.  Outside my hut (photo: Terry Fincher)

Section Two

18.  Coming in for the night (photo: Lindsay Bell)

19.  In the camp with Kaunda

20.  With George and Kaunda (photo: Lindsay Bell)

21.  Jojo comes to Kora (photo: Lindsay Bell)

22.  Lindsay visits after the mauling (photo: Pete Gilfillan)

23.  With Orma tribesmen (photo: Lindsay Bell)

24.  Collecting water from the river (photo: Lindsay Bell)

25.  Radio tracking in the early days (photo: Terry Fincher)

26.  Kampi ya Chui after completion

27.  With Attila. Leopards won't take a bottle at this stage

28.  Attila and Squeaks on their morning walk

29.  Sharing a tree with Squeaks (photo: Joan Root)

30.  Teatime with Squeaks (photo: Yann Arthus-Bertrand)

31.  Palle released into the wild

32.  With Bugsy. No greater love . . . (photo: Terry Fincher)

33.  Bugsy and Squeaks - the best of friends

Section Three

34.  'The Old Man' (photo: Joey Thompson)

35.  George with his last pride

36.  On recce to Mkomazi, 1988 (photo: Terry Fincher)

37.  Fringe-eared oryx in the Supabowl, Mkomazi

38.  Early days at Mkomazi. Making the first road in

39.  With Fred Ayo at our first workshop

40.  Fred and Jumanne Mkuta building our house, Mkomazi

41.  With Hezekiah Mungure, Mkomazi

42.  Elisaria Nnko steers the project (photo: Thomas Pelgrom)

43.  Godlizen Mlaki and Fred Ayo in the new workshop, Mkomazi

44.  Costa Mlay with Lucy and Mukka

45.  Our wedding, Kora, 1997 (photo: Elisaria Nnko)

46.  Mkomazi takes shape

47.  Elisaria checks on the pups (photo: Frank Teuling)

48.  Coming up for dinner

49.  Wild dogs in the
(photo: Greg Williams)

50.  Aart Visee and Sangito Lema taking blood samples from the wild dogs

51.  Kisiwani Secondary School, built by the Trust

52.  The first group of four rhinos arrives from South Africa

53.  The rhinos' reception committee

54.  Lucy and Badger

55.  Badger gets his teeth fixed

Section Four

56.  Death of Badger

57.  Breeding gets going - Rose and her second calf, Daisy

58.  The rhino sanctuary takes off (photo: Jesse Zwick)

59.  Jabu - home at last (photo: Dana Holeckova)

60.  Elvis gets operated on after a bad goring

61.  Martin Clunes accompanies Nina into Mkomazi

62.  Anyone for bananas? (photo: Frank Teuling)

63.  Nina brings Jonny Wilkinson to meet us (photo: Sam Dhillon)

64.  Jipe has a bottle on an evening walk

65.  Emmanuel, myself and Jipe

66.  Jipe brings us one of her cubs

67.  Friends for seven years (photo: Suzi Winstanley)

68.  Jipe, myself and Zacharia Nasari (photo: Suzi Winstanley)

69.  A lesser kudu became Jipe's first kill

70.  Putting on Jipe's collar

71.  Jipe admires Anthony Bamford's JCB (photo: Antony Rufus Isaacs)

72.  The new Kampi ya Simba, Kora, 2010

73.  Meeting with Asako elders on my return

74.  Tana river bridge, 2009

75.  Kenya Wildlife Seminar on Kora, 2009

76.  At Buckingham Palace, 2006

77.  Elisaria Nnko, Fred Ayo and Semu Pallangyo

78.  Kenya's Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka with his daughter Saada, and Jemima, Mukka and myself

79.  The family returns to Kora, 2009

80.  Lucy and Missie, our orphaned caracal

81.  Tilly and two baby ostriches

82.  Our family, Mkomazi, 2009 (photo: Dominic Nahr/Report- age by Getty Images)

Aerial photograph of elephants on page 187 from Peter Beard,
The End of the Game,
copyright © Peter Beard/Art + Commerce

Front endpaper:
With Gigi, Freddie and Arusha overlooking the camp

Back endpaper:
George at sundown, Christian's Rock

All photographs, unless otherwise indicated, are copyright © the author

List of Maps

Kenya and Tanzania

Kora National Park

Mkomazi National Park

1. End of the Line

The funny
thing about being chewed up by a lion is that they don't bite chunks out of you – they suffocate you. All that firepower and they use a pillow. I suppose I should be glad of it: two hundred kilos of fully grown lion pouncing on my back had already knocked the breath out of me. And when he put my head in his mouth and started to squeeze it wasn't long before I began to lose consciousness. Only when he clawed at my stomach did I wake up and my will to live reassert itself. It was just like that moment when you've been tumbled by a big wave and lost your surfboard: abruptly the light pierces the swirling water and, realizing you want to live, you kick towards the surface. I pushed my fist above my head and into the lion's mouth. But I wasn't strong enough: he was going to kill me, the bastard. I can remember wondering, as I faded away, Which one was it? A wild lion or one of ours?

BOOK: Born Wild
7.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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