- Tebalelo grew up living in a area where nature was plenty, Limpopo
- He feared wild animals but when he conquered that, he found his passion
- He now loves and cares for wild animals on the daily and is loving life
Surrounded by undeveloped and unspoilt beauty, Tebalelo Nodia Mametja enjoyed an amazing life growing up on the banks of the Olifants River in Limpopo.
His daily routine every after school, was to rush into the bush to check on the cattle. Tebalelo always took his dogs for protection. With his passion to work with the environment, as he got older, Tebalelo looked for any opportunity that would enable him to do so. He started teaching eco-lessons to primary school children.
There was one thing that was holding Tebalelo back. Even though he had a love for nature and a fascination with wildlife, he still had a fear of wild animals. To overcome his fear, this 21 year old is tackling his doubts by interacting with wild and domestic animals on a daily basis, and he couldn’t be happier.
Working at the Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage as the Camp and Animal Manager, he feeds and cares for over 80 rescued animals. There is a variety such as dassies, pigs, birds and even crocodiles.
Working with animals that have been injured, it gets stressful when the creature has severe injuries. With these cases, Tebalelo carries out every action with the utmost tenderness and care.
“We have to treat the animals the same way we want to be treated,” he says. Despite his initial fears, Mametja has learnt how to handle both his own and the animals’ responses. “They are only dangerous when they feel endangered.”
Been a local from Hoedspruit, working and interacting with international volunteers has been an eye-opening experience.
“By working here, I had to learn to adapt to different cultures and customs.”
To encourage local children to respect and care for their natural heritage, Tebalelo passes on his knowledge he has gained to the youth.
“Working with the youth and the environment at the same time, it’s a privilege.”
In order for Tebalelo to live out his dream and passion, he now wants to study wildlife and game lodge management.
“Animals to me, they are the same as humans. I’m always there for them.”
We can learn so much from Tebalelo! His approach is a lesson for all that even in the midst of fear and misunderstanding, love can grow.
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