A Canine’s adventure: From Damaraland to Cape Cross

Annelien Robberts

Damaraland’s enigmatic ruggedness is a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Enthusiasts come in many shapes and sizes. Take Bran, for example. Bran is a border collie. He lives in Windhoek with his owners, Jill and John. Recently, his human, John, an archaeologist, went on an exhibition to Damaraland where he camped out nearby the Messum Crater. John’s furry companion usually accompanies him on his trips, and this trip was no different.

The Messum Crater is a well-known geological hotspot in Namibia – a sought-after destination for plenty of travellers. This is where Bran’s adventure kicked off more than three weeks ago.
Early one morning when the sun has not yet set the untamed landscape ablaze, John let an over-excited Bran out of the tent. John knew the hyenas in the area were well aware of them, because he had seen tracks around his tent in the mornings. A friend of his had mentioned to keep his dog inside the tent at night, because the hyenas would not let a domestic treat pass them by. The dog dashed out, hurrying after something he had heard, and disappeared. John went on an extensive search in the area, but all in vain. Bran was gone…
Devastated and heart-broken, John contacted Swakopmund SPCA who made it their mission to find Bran and bring him back safely. He was amazed by their network on Facebook and Whatsapp. The message of Bran spread like a wildfire. An aerial survey was launched in search of the beloved K9. One of the volunteer pilots who landed at the Save the Rhino Trust camp confirmed what they already knew – the presence of the large hyena population.
There was not much hope. Other than the menacing predators, Bran had no access to water or food. How could a domestic animal survive in this harsh environment? “Bran is a sweet-natured dog and absolutely not aggressive,” stated Jill. John nonetheless believes that it is his friendliness that was his salvation, because after three weeks of extensive searches, a traffic cop from Henties Bay spotted Bran integrated with a pack of jackals in the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. His quad bike got stuck in the salt pans and he contacted MET to come out.
Volunteers at the SPCA did not give up and the rescue operation was well on track. Jill said that the upliftment and support from the community were truly a goosebumps-worthy experience. When a car went to fetch Bran, the collie did not think twice to part from his jackal friends to reunite with his original pack. He jumped right into the car.
With the jackals, Bran at least had access to seal meat. The jackals know where to dig for fresh water, which means that Bran could survive. “We do not know how he managed to survive in Damaraland. He probably licked the moisture caused by the fog from his fur for hydration,” John speculated. “We are guessing that he is fluent in jackal now.”
Jill and John are overjoyed that their dog is back home. “If only he had a Go-pro camera attached to him for these past three weeks,” Jill said. “People we did not even know jumped in to help. Miracles do happen!”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login