Friday, August 17, 2007

Matt Kellen: Kudu Rescuer

There I was climbing atop a Mountain in the mid-morning in the Karoo. (The Karoo is the bush of South Africa near Cradock in the Eastern Cape, not unlike the rolling hills of Montana or South Dakota with the exception of the wild life: zebra, kudu, springbuk, waterbufallo and the like.) As I scrambled up a rock outcrop, I noticed what looked like a deer leg raised at an awkward angle, then chaos ensued. A female kudu jumped to life straining against the barbed wire fence its back leg was caught in. Shane, a survival expert who was on our trip stradled the fence and hugged the kudu forelegs while I held fast to the free back leg to avoid a thrashing of its hoof. Our first plan was to push the kudu back towards the fence to then free the tangled hind leg. Thinking quickly another plan formed. I shouted to another hiker to pull my gerber multi tool from the top of my pack. With quick surgical precision, I proceeded to cut the barbed wire from around the now exhausted Kudu hind leg. Holding both hind legs, both Shane and I let go of the Kudu at the same time giving her plenty of room to get up. With limping back leg, the Kudu scrambled down the rocky cleft to safety. Just another day in the life of Matt Kellen Kudu Rescuer.

I make it sound intense and a little over dramatic, but hey it was pretty cool to hug a Kudu (not unlike a large mule deer with funky horns. My friend Kim would not be impressed. She hates deer.

Matt Kellen